Ray Allen was a third wheel on an old sports car. With fellow aging stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Allen and the Celtics some times seemed faster than their age, seemingly overwhelming opponents.
That of course is the description fitting a Celtics team that fought its way to a 2007-2008 NBA championship. The Celtics of more recent seasons have begun to see more eye-to-eye with Father Time. Falling prey to injury and just plain old fatigue, the “Big Three” were “wily veterans” with yet considerable statistical value.
There was, and still is, hope in Boston. Rajon Rondo will be going into a season where he is arguably the most talented player on his team.
But one of the staples of that reinvigorated, championship-winning Celtics team in 2008 has left for rivals in Miami. That, because it is Boston, was greeted with all kinds of interesting reactions. Most notably, some younger fans tweeted that Allen leaving to Miami was worse than him dawning a Lakers jersey instead. The gal, right?
There’s this notion, fairly widespread, that Allen left the Celtics for a drive-through title. I’m here to tell you that not only is there nothing wrong with that, it was also not the only factor in play.
Recently, Allen was asked about his move:
When this contract situation came down…nobody wanted me to resign in that situation because they thought, ‘There [is] so much left in you and this team isn’t taking care of you or treating you right.’ That’s the way I felt and it was like, if you are going to come and not put out a good contract on the table then, hey, we gotta think about going somewhere else.”
–Via Sports Radio Interviews.
It’s the “team not treating you right” aspect that’s interesting here.
Off the bar, let’s get something straight. The Celtics are a team that is starting to rebuild. The KG/ Pierce/ Allen era is all but gone.
To reiterate Allen’s contract concerns, he was offered a 2-year deal worth about $12 million. Garnett recently signed a 3-year, $34 million extension. Pierce was locked up as of two years ago, after signing a $61 million offer sheet.
1/3 the big three evidently makes for much less pay than your slower, older teammates. Yes, KG is a semi 7-footer and Pierce has the clutch-factor going for him. But time has worn those skill sets.
Garnett is holding on well but is now something of an injury risk who doesn’t jump as well anymore. Pierce looks as though he is one thanksgiving meal away from complete physical apathy.
Maybe that was a bit much, especially because I love both Garnett’s and Pierce’s games. But, I suppose some of that criticism came from the fact that Allen, the guy in the best shape among the wise-men, was being offered that kind of contract to be a sail on a ghost ship.
And then the guy gets the “he went to a rival” treatment from fans and teammates? That’s the kind of thing that convinces me even further that Allen made the right decision this off-season, going to a place where being the rare commodity that he is means a high likelihood of another title.
Well, that, and this little snippet:
“I hate it with a passion anywhere I go where we are beating the team by 20 and the fans boo. Because you never go out on the floor and try to be bad or try to suck out there…It’s just sometimes it’s not your night…and a lot of times the reason why people boo is I don’t think they could understand what it’s like to do that on a nightly basis.”
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also a contributor at “Les Snobs”. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim