This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. I’m a control freak, and in my mind there was no way Ray Allen would bolt our Celtics to chase championship hardware down in South Beach. The fairytale isn’t supposed to end that way. It just isn’t. So yes, I must admit that I’m in major denial mode at the moment, thinking that something will change and that this will all be one big misunderstanding – a Twitter rumor gone bad and gone viral.
But it’s not a bad dream.
It’s really happening.
After five years in a Celtics uniform, Ray Allen has decided to end his career in Miami, alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Gulp. Frankly, I’m going to have a hard time getting over this. Ray is one of the good guys, as classy an act as you’ll ever want to meet. And just like that, he’s moved on to Miami. Miami!!! The Heat are the Lakers of the Eastern Conference, our bitter rivals. And Ray was a part of the battle, fighting for the light and against the dark side. But no longer. Ray has moved on for various reasons – more rings, more glitz, more glam, a well-defined role in his twilight years, less head-butting with Rajon Rondo – and, in the final analysis, it’s just going to be hard to accept.
I’ll have to. I know that. But it’s going to take time, and it sure as hell ain’t going to be easy. This isn’t Ray Allen signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves or the Memphis Grizzlies. I could have swallowed that. The Clippers? No problem. But Miami? Sheesh.
Ray coming to Boston was the reason that Kevin Garnett came to Boston. It was the birth of the Big Three Reincarnate. They forged a special bond - Ubuntu – and they played their way to the 2008 NBA Championship. It was the first for Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce. There appeared to be more in the offing.
Here we are, five years later (has it really be that long?), and we’re still looking for that second title of the Big Three Era. Only now Ray won’t be here to pursue it with us. The new, New Big Three is comprised of Garnett, Pierce and Rondo. Allen is on his way to Miami. His mission? Come off the bench run the floor, knock down threes and create spacing for James, Wade and Chris Bosh. And I’m here to tell you – objectively – that Allen now has the easier path the trio’s next ring. Our Celtics will be improved, but we’re still going to be a cut below the Heat in terms of talent. The Heat are the champions, and they’re still the team to beat. And with Allen in the mix, they’re suddenly going to be a lot harder to deal with.