By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Joining 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich on Wednesday, Danny Ainge provided crucial context for the debate around retiring Ray Allen's number.
While there's no argument that Allen was a great player during his time with the Celtics, it's his exit that makes many uncomfortable putting his No. 20 alongside the likes of Russell, Bird, and Pierce. According to Ainge, fans aren't the only ones who feel that way. He told T&R that the manner in which Allen left "will have some impact” on the team's decision whether or not to retire his number.
When asked if he would honor Allen by retiring his number, Ainge said that is a call made above his head.
"These are not my decisions," Ainge told T&R. "So if someone asks my opinion on this, I’ll weigh in at the appropriate time. But this is [Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck]’s team and he gets to make those decisions."
Although Ainge's attempt to trade Allen are reportedly part of what drove him to leave town, Ainge said the two still enjoy an amicable relationship. "We get along great. I'm a big, big fan of Ray. I'll always be grateful to Ray for the championship that he gave us."
Others in the organization may not feel the same way. While Ainge says he "no longer hold holds any grudge against Allen," he expressed that "I know that's not the exact same feeling of everybody in the organization."
Who else is Ainge talking about? There's been quite a bit of turnover in the nearly-10 years since Allen left. One constant of course is Grousbeck, who is a self described life-long Celtics fan. If he carries the same feeling towards Allen as most fans in Boston, it's unlikely Allen's number ever gets to the rafters, at least under Grousbeck's ownership.
You can listen to Toucher & Rich's full conversation with Danny Ainge here:
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].