Could Boston be Allen town again?
Rumors have been swirling this summer that the 41-year old sharpshooter, Ray Allen, is mulling a return to the NBA.
Allen was initially linked to the Warriors back in July and there were also talks that he may rejoin LeBron James on the Cavaliers. At first I thought nothing of these rumors. Ring-chasers are always linked to the front-runners in the league and everyone knows that LeBron loves being surrounded by shooters, so neither team was a surprise.
Most recently however, Allen told the Hartford Courant that he has spoken to the Celtics and the Bucks and had this to say about the possibility of joining one of the two teams:
“I would love going back to those places if it worked out,” Allen said, “because both teams are good, too. It doesn’t necessarily have to be championship-or-bust for me to go back to the NBA.”
“I want to be in a situation where I thought I could help, play a little bit and help where they have good young talent.”
While it’s likely that none of this will come to fruition, it got me thinking about Allen potentially returning to Boston and how he would be received by the fans.
Allen was a huge part of the Celtics last championship back in 2008 so it’s easy to overlook his ugly departure from Boston. Ray completely betrayed Boston when he left Celtics-money — $3 million per season — on the table to join LeBron and the Miami Heat in warm, sunny, Miami, to form a new Big Three.
At the time, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo had reportedly been clashing, and Allen claimed he no longer felt wanted in Boston. Rondo’s contract extension in ’09-10 season led to rumors that Allen might get dealt, coach Doc Rivers didn’t award him his starting job back after an ankle injury, and the fact that Allen always seemed like the odd-man-out among the Big 3, led to him feeling “unwanted.” Despite a Celtics roster that had reloaded in the off-season preceding the ’12-13 season by adding Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Jared Sullinger and bringing back Jeff Green, it wasn’t enough. Pat Riley’s sales pitch to bring Allen to Miami was though.
Allen is a prideful man and from the examples above, it’s clear he didn’t get the respect he should have from Danny Ainge, Rivers, and maybe even his teammates, so in a way it’s understandable that he left. But I don’t think the Celtics fans ever abandoned him or disrespected him, so he was not unwanted by Boston faithful.
All this aside, Ray left Boston in their time of need. Boston was fresh off a lose to the newly-formed Big 3 in South Beach, but the championship window was far from closed. The Celtics weren’t on the decline and had added some younger guys to help ensure that, but Allen left anyway.
At this point, we’re four years removed from Allen’s treasonous exit, but the thought of a potential second championship during Boston’s Big 3 era keeps the wound somewhat fresh. I would be conflicted to see Allen return in a green and white uniform. In my heart of hearts, I’d boo him in his first appearance back. I truly hate him for what he did to this beloved franchise. Despite the Celtics CLEAR need for shooting, it would pain me to see him shooting for us again. As a basketball fan, the Celtics desperately need Allen, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d be a great fit and inevitably become a fan favorite again. As much as it would sting to have to cheer for him again, maybe it’s what Celtics fans need and what Allen needs to fulfill the story-book ending he should have gotten during his first go-around in Boston. But for some, it’s probably a little too late for Allen to right his wrongs with the City of Champions.