|Posted by paul on July 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM|
The more the talking heads and media stooges try to defend Ray Allen, the more one feels that Jarrett Jack got it right in one; the word is "traitor". Of course, on some level, we will always respect Allen. His craft is legendary. His coming to Boston marked the beginning of the rebirth of Celtics Pride. His toughness was never on better display than when he fought his way through bonespurs to play a meaningful role in the playoffs last year. It's obvious now that Allen had already left the team in his mind, but he still seemed to give an almost super-human effort.
But I think now we can understand a little better why Rondo left the court in disgust as Ray Allen prepared to make his post game schmoozing rounds after game seven against the Heat. According to Wojnarowski, those two were locked into a cold war this past season, and it seems to have escalated towards the end, as Rondo seemed to (rightly) encourage Bradley's rise to a starting role. But the more we hear about Allen's military child based habits of discipline, as if that somehow made him a good person, and the more we hear about his various resentments, the less admirable he seems. Wojnarowski perhaps captures the essence of the Allen defense in this paragraph:
For all the past indignities – real or imagined – Rondo was the issue that hadn’t gone away, that would still be there come training camp. They don’t like each other, and it had become a bigger and bigger drag on Allen, sources said. Each had culpability for why things had gone awry, and yet each was better on the court because he had played with the other.
Rondo has had a polarizing impact within the Celtics' locker room, and his relationships with teammates and coaches have fluctuated over the years. Allen and Rondo never had arguments this year, never got into it. In fact, one source said: "Ray mostly ignored him." After the season, Rivers tried his best to mend the relationship between Rondo and Allen – make it manageable on some level. And yet, as one source with direct knowledge of the coach’s efforts said, the relationship was "too far gone."
Whatever the issues, everyone agreed: Rondo and Allen never brought them onto the floor. They played together, played well, but Allen had grown increasingly disillusioned about dealing with the disconnect. The friction started in the 2009-10 season, after Rondo signed his five-year, $55 million extension, sources said. It wouldn’t be long until Allen started to hear his name in trade talks, and he began to make the correlation that Rondo’s salary played a part in the Celtics looking to trim payroll – starting with Allen.
"Ray is prideful," one source said, "and he was always wondering: 'Why do I have to be that guy?' "
What happened appears to be pretty much exactly what many of us have thought for a long time now; in a super-heated atheletic version of the sibling rivalry so many of us are so familiar with from our own lives, the rise of the young talent, in the person of Rajon Rondo, was resented by the autumnal talent in the person of Ray Allen. It was all too easy for Pat Riley and the Heat to sieze the opportunity, pushing the right buttons, whispering in Ray Allen's ear that he was right to feel so bitter, and that they, the Heat, could make Ray Allen a star again, while helping him get just a tad bit of revenge, just a modicum, just a taste.
In the end, Ray did us a favor. In the end, we should wish him the best, because we shouldn't be bitter. We have so much to look forward to. There will be tumultuous times ahead. Things will have to sort themselves out, and it won't be easy. In my opinion, the most important thing for Rajon Rondo to remember, as he presumably hoists practice three after practice three this summer, in 'honor' of Ray Allen, is that the key to persuasively leading the team next year is on the defensive end. I think that Rondo will amaze us with his defensive play next year, and this in turn will help set the team on fire at both ends. A new day is dawning. I think it's going to be amazing.