The Boston Celtics are planning to honour the 2008 championship team but will do so without Ray Allen, a key member of that squad. According to a report, several members of that team are still bitter about Allen's decision to join the Miami Heat, who were perceived as Boston's No. 1 enemy at the time.
Allen joined the Heat as a free agent in 2012 and proceeded to win a championship with LeBron James & Co a year later. The sharpshooter had reportedly turned down a two-year, US$12 million (AU$15.5 million) offer from the Celtics and joined the Heat on a three-year, US$9.5 million (AU$12.2 million). The Celtics even offered Allen a no-trade clause but the future Hall-of-Famer bolted from Boston due to his reported rivalry with point guard Rajon Rondo.
"I mean, Ray left. He left to the enemy," an unnamed member of that 2008 championship-winning team told the Undefeated, a sentiment shared by Rondo. "I asked a couple of the guys (if we should invite Allen). I got a no, a no head shake," Rondo was quoted as saying in the same feature story.
Rajon Rondo says Ray Allen 'didn't bleed green'
Rondo proceeded to explain the mindset of the Celtics team after Allen left for South Beach. "We were at war with those guys (Miami Heat). To go with the enemy, that’s unheard-of in sports. Well, it’s not so unheard of. It’s damn near common now. The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn’t do anything like that. It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for?
"You didn’t bleed green. People think we had a messed-up relationship. It’s not the greatest. But it’s not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got (without Allen)," the Chicago Bulls point guard reasoned.
It's important to note that not every member of Boston's 2008 title team is anti-Allen. Leon Powe, a member of that team, is surprised to learn that Allen won't be a part of the festivities. "I assumed that Ray would be invited. That is one of my guys. My preference is that Ray is extended an invitation."
After Boston's disappointing 2012-13 campaign, which ended with a first-round playoffs exit, the front office decided to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets, signalling the end of an era. Though Rondo wasn't traded until December 2014, the Celtics were ready to move onto younger players, a move that has held them in good stead ever since. Ray Allen hasn't played in the NBA since Miami 2014 Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The sharpshooter announced his retirement earlier this season.