Last month the Boston Celtics lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat; next week the franchise will lose one of the key players that helped the “Green Team” win the NBA Championship in 2008, as the “Boston Globe” reported Friday night that veteran Free Agent shooting guard Ray Allen will sign a contract with the Heat. Allen will reportedly receive a three-year deal for about $3 million per season, the Celtics according to the paper’s sources offered the veteran a two-year deal for $12 million, but the former Celtics starter turned the deal down.
Allen leaving the club ends “The New Big Three Era” for the team, as Allen along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce hoisted the first banner the squad won in the “New Garden,” the franchise’s first Title since the “Original Big Three,” Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale defeated the Houston Rockets in 1986.
There were rumors throughout the campaign that the sharpshooter felt underappreciated, as rumors of him being dealt to another team were a constant, until the NBA trade deadline arrived on March 15, with him still in a Boston uniform. Not long after the deadline, rumors surfaced that Boston was on the verge of trading Allen to the Memphis Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo but the teams ran out of time before they could complete the deal. Needless to say, Allen was upset when he heard the stories, and some NBA observers have said, that was the moment when Allen knew he would be moving on after the campaign.
Ankle woes caused him to miss a stretch of games late in the regular season and he lost his starting role to second-year guard Avery Bradley upon his return. Bradley would be knocked out of the Post Season prior to the Miami series, after suffering a shoulder injury and Allen was a starter for the Finals. The bone-spurs that the veteran had removed from both ankles after the season, would not allow him to play at his usual level, although his scoring did improve as the series progressed.
Boston has already reached an agreement to sign former Dallas Mavericks sixth man Jason Terry to a three-year contract, so Allen’s offense will not be missed as much as his presence. It will not sit well with “Celtics Nation” that Allen decided to take his talents to the team that defeated them in the Conference Finals. This is not the blow to the gut that former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon hit Boston sports fans with when he signed with the Yankees, (or for an earlier generation; Luis Tiant or Bob Watson) but it still will hurt. It will just give Celtics fans one more reason to want to beat the Heat next season.