Ray Allen will play for the Miami Heat next season, leaving Boston after five seasons. Allen refused to re-sign with the Boston Celtics and after days of swirling rumours, the announcement was made by Heat owner Mickey Arison via Twitter. The Heat deal is for a lot less money than what Boston offered and much of the speculation regarding his exit points to an indifference with starting point guard Rajon Rondo.
While members of the Boston faithful have scorned Allen for defecting to a rival, questioning Ray’s “loyalty” as an underpinning argument is a disgrace. Ray Allen arrived in Boston in June 2007 to join a team that was fresh off an awful 24-58 season. He was cast as a member of Boston’s “Big 3″ alongside mainstay Paul Pierce and fellow recruit Kevin Garnett.
In their first season together, this trio led the Celtics to their first title in 22 years and Allen’s defense on Kobe Bryant in the Finals played a huge part in that accomplishment.
In his five seasons with the Celtics, Ray Allen scored 7,397 points including 1,004 connections from beyond the arc. He played with injury during the regular season and playoffs at times and continued to be a professional, even when the Celtics tried to trade him as last season’s deadline approached. You’re not going to find many more classy and professional as Ray Allen, you’re just not.
Ray Allen will join the defending champion Miami Heat as their likely starting shooting guard, a position that wasn’t going to be Ray’s in Boston with the emergence of Avery Bradley. Miami may well push LeBron James to power forward and run Allen and Wade as dual two-guards. No matter what the strategy is right now, new teammate LeBron James also took to Twitter to welcome his new running mate.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 7, 2012
The wash-up remains simple, Celtics fans are hurting right now and Miami magnified their role as league villain by convincing the ever-popular Jesus Shuttlesworth to walk.
Many believe it’s now a certainty that the league will schedule a Christmas Day match-up between the Celtics and the Heat, a dual that would certainly rate through the roof. It would be disappointing if Ray got a hostile reception when he visits the TD Garden later in the year but sadly in sports it’s sort of inevitable.
While Boston fans are emotional about Allen’s defection, they should take stock of what he brought to their team and their city.