How much did Ray Allen's rift with Rajon Rondo and his feeling that his loyalty to the Celtics was not reciprocated play into his decision to sign with the Heat instead of returning to Boston?
That's a subject ESPN.com senior NBA writer J.A. Adande touched on Saturday morning on SportsCenter (video above). Here's his take:
“All around the league you hear talk about a rift that had developed between Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. One version I heard involved Ray Allen doing all that running around, coming off screens and not getting the ball. If he’s going to work that hard at that age, you better get him the ball when he’s open. I think that was part of it.
"Also, the fact that the Celtics seriously considered trading him. At one point he thought he had been traded during the course of the season.
"And let’s not forget he lost his starting spot during the playoffs to Avery Bradley before Bradley got injured. So, people talk about loyalty. Remember, loyalty can go both ways. I think he felt a little bit betrayed by the Celtics."
Adande's sentiment was one shared by Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, who wrote that the Heat blew Allen away with their presentation and made him feel wanted in a way the Celtics did not:
"He felt he was getting respect that he hadn’t gotten from [Celtics president] Danny [Ainge] and [coach] Doc [Rivers] anymore," a source close to him said Friday night. "…The presentation was incredible."
Respect comes in different ways, but make no mistake: The Celtics had offered two years and $12 million – respect for someone's who's 37 and coming off ankle surgery – and it didn’t matter to Allen. He hated the way Ainge dangled him in trade talks, hated that the Celtics told him he was on his way to Memphis in a deal at the March deadline only to have Rivers later tell him the trade was dead. Allen hated that Rivers didn’t give him his starting job back after he returned from a late-season ankle injury, and hated that it always felt like he was the Celtics star made to sacrifice above the rest.
As for the rift with Rondo, that's something that seems to have been simmering for a while. Back in May, ESPNBoston.com columnist Jackie MacMullan touched on it in a piece on the deteriorating relationship between the two. Here's an excerpt:
Allen acknowledges he and Rondo have clashed at times. ("So have all of us at one time or another," he correctly states). He wistfully laments the days when Rondo was a sponge, wanting to know everything he could about the league and its pitfalls.
How much do you think Ray's crumbling relationship with Rondo and feeling of unrequited loyalty had to do with his choosing Miami over Boston? Or was his motivation as simple as thinking the Heat gave him a better chance at winning another title? Share your thoughts in the poll above and in the comments section.