Ray Allen is dragging his heels and checking out all of his options, and the longer this takes to play out the more it looks like Allen will be leaving the Boston Celtics. And if he does indeed decide to leave for the Miami Heat, on the surface it might appear that he’s leaving to chase championships with LeBron, Bosh and D-Wade. That would certainly be a huge part of the equation, but it certainly isn’t the only aspect. Think about it: Chasing championships is nice, but today’s NBA is all about dollars and cents. If Ray were to bolt for Miami, then he would be leaving a healthy chunk of change on the table, as Boston can offer him more than double what the Heat are allowed to offer. And while Allen doesn’t have to worry about his financial security, he’s not exactly the pitchman that is LeBron James or D-Wade. Those guys could sacrifice on the basketball side of their ledger, knowing that they’d make it up in endorsement dollars outside of basketball. Let’s face it – Ray is a great guy, but older role players at the end of their careers aren’t exactly the darlings of Madison Avenue.
So, what gives?
Why would Allen really want to leave Boston?
There are a few things that might be at work here. First, there are reports that Allen didn’t appreciate Danny Ainge dangling him as trade bait not once, but twice. I can see that. Allen as gone on the record that having his name mentioned as a trade chip bothered him. But I don’t think that is the biggest factor. Ray has been traded before, and he understands that the NBA is a business.
If not that, then what? Well, there are also reports that Allen doesn’t like the thought of having his minutes cut and playing a reserve role, especially to a younger, unproven player like Avery Bradley. And Ray clearly considers himself superior to Bradley in almost every respect, with the possible exception of on-the-ball defense. I can see that. And I can buy that this is playing a larger part in Allen’s decision to shop himself around. But to some degree he knows his days as a starter are numbered – if he goes to Miami, then it’s assumed he’ll come of the bench to provide spacing for their Big Three. He could go to Memphis and start, but he won’t win a championship there. He knows he can’t have it both ways – starting and contending – with what’s available in this free agent market, and you can bet he’ll take contending over starting any day of the week.
Then what is the issue? It’s right there under our noses – and its name is Rajon Rondo.
Rondo and Allen have openly argued on the court, and it’s no secret that Allen is clearly annoyed with the Celtics’ burgeoning star. And if Allen can’t coexist with Rondo, then it’s safe to say he may seek happiness elsewhere. Like, say, in South Beach.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated recently reported on the duo’s chemistry problems, and here is what he had to say:
So the more I think about it, the more I think that Allen is as good as gone. Hope I’m wrong, but Allen isn’t sending the right signals to make me believe otherwise.
Stay tuned, Celtic Nation. We should have our answer by the end of the weekend.