By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Ray Allen’s decision to depart the Boston Celtics for the Miami Heat went over about as well as you would have imagined.
In a battle for Eastern Conference supremacy, Allen’s decision to join Boston’s top rival effectively ended Boston’s new Big 3, and helped accelerate the end of a run that featured just one title in two championship-round appearances for the Green. It also didn’t help that the Heat had just eliminated the Celtics from the postseason for the second year in a row, this time in the Eastern Conference Finals.
There was just no way that Allen’s decision was going to go over well in The Hub. It was downright impossible.
But Allen, who has rarely been seen or heard from since walking away from basketball, outlined the nasty fallout of his Boston exit during an appearance on The Cedric Maxwell Podcast.
“I left because there were so many unresolved issues that the team wasn’t considering or willing to change,” Allen, who play two seasons with Miami before walking away from basketball, recalled. “As a free agent, you want to know the team is going to do the things you know they need to do. So what is it now? It’s 2020, so you’re talking about nine years, now. I’ve gotten so much hate, death threats, vitriol from Boston fans.”
Now, Allen is not the first player to get ripped to shreds upon their departure from their city. Just thinking about recent stars moving cities, Kevin Durant has been labeled a “snake” ever since he jumped from Oklahoma City to Golden State (and now Brooklyn) and John Tavares is called “Pajama Boy” by everybody on Long Island. Heck, you could argue that Allen is lucky he left Boston in 2012 and not 2020, as social media continues to advance at a rate that’ll melt our brains to goo by 2025.
But Allen’s decision, death threats or not, also seemed to come with some discontent when it came to his own role, and where things were trending for a C’s squad that was seeing some of its former roleplayers elevating to a higher status.
“Once you start winning that everyone starts wanting a piece of the larger pie,” Allen offered. “When we won in ’08, you get to the point where you have young players and now All-Star teams want to be made, more minutes need to be had, and it’s like no, you actually have to go back to doing what you were doing. We all had to appreciate that and respect that.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize Allen is talking about Rajon Rondo. While Allen wouldn’t mention Rondo by name, it was clear that these two had a falling out by the end of their time together. It was even mentioned in Allen’s biography, with Allen claiming that Rondo told him he was going to get him traded out of Boston.
But Allen claims it wasn’t the sole reason why he decided to leave Boston.
“I wasn’t mad at anybody when I left,” Allen said. It was simply if you’re not moving forward and in the direction that we need as the Allen family, then we need to move on and find what we need for ourselves so we can be successful.”
Will the relationship ever repair itself? It seems relatively unlikely, all things considered. When the 2007-08 Celtics reunited on Kevin Garnett’s Area 21 back in 2017, Allen was not invited. Garnett said it was “all Celtics” and suggested that Allen left the brotherhood when he went ring-chasing with Miami. And when the Celtics raised Paul Pierce’s No. 34 to the Garden rafters, Allen was nowhere to be found. (In fact, he spent that day golfing with George Lopez. Not even kidding.)
It’s nothing new to Allen, though, who feels almost erased from Celtic lore.
“Obviously these guys have kind of removed me from the Big 3 and said so many negative things about me and I haven’t had one negative thing to say about any of them,” said Allen.