Over the last couple of weeks, reports have surfaced in the media stating that the reason Boston Celtics veteran shooting guard Ray Allen, decided to take his talents to South Beach, was due to a deteriorating relationship with Boston’s starting point guard Rajon Rondo. Celtics bench boss Doc Rivers, felt he had to clarify the situation and in an interview that was published Wednesday by “Yahoo Sports,” Boston’s head coach, took full responsibility for Allen’s decision to leave the club.
Rivers is currently in London, where he is covering the 2012 Olympics for NBC Sports. He told the website, although the relationship between Allen and Rondo had turned icy; it degenerated because Rondo was following his orders during games. He said “People can use all the Rondo stuff; and it was there, no doubt about that; but it was me more than Rondo. I’m the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I’m the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn’t mean guys liked that; and Ray did not love that; because Rondo now had the ball all the time.”
The Celtics coach told reporters that his philosophy has always been; that what benefits the entire club is far more important than keeping one player satisfied. Rivers said “As a coach, you’ve got to do what’s best for the team. If guys don’t like it, they’re going to leave. If they stay and don’t like it, well, your team’s going to suck anyway. Even if this happens, you still have to do it. You can’t coach worrying about any individual. You’ve got to coach worrying about your entire team: whether that gets you a championship or whether that gets you fired. I think it allows you to coach free. You’re coaching with freedom because you know you’re doing what you think is right. I always tell my guys: If I’m wrong, hopefully I’m smart enough, or my staff, or one of you guys; because I do listen to you; will tell me that I’m wrong. But not one player ever told me, ‘Hey, I don’t think you should start Avery.'”
Rivers went onto say that although Allen will not be a starter with the Heat, it most likely be easier for the veteran to come off the bench with a new team, than it was with Boston. The coach makes a valid point, that it probably will be a smoother transition, taking on a lesser role in new surroundings, than it would be with the team he helped to win an NBA Title in 2008. Rivers also told members of the media, that he was quite angry with Allen’s decision at first to leave the team, however he has realized that Allen had to be comfortable in the role he would be playing.
Former NBA Sixth Man Of The Year Jason Terry, whom the Celtics signed to a Free Agent contract last month, will fill the veteran’s role on the hardwood; so any concern about Allen’s leaving is not because of a void he will leave on the court. His loss will be most apparent in the locker room and on the bench, his leadership has been a big part of the club’s chemistry since he and Kevin Garnett joined the team in the Summer of 2007. It remains to be seen how that will affect the squad next season.