The end of the Big 3 era, goodbye Ray.

via They Say A Picture’s Worth… on CelticsLife

I had a bad feeling when I saw this picture.

And it’s finally happened, Ray Allen has walked out of Boston.

And into Miami, home of the reigning 2011/2012 NBA champions.

And its if Adrian Woj has it right in his article, it was due to a mixture of:

  • trade bait dangles from Danny
  • bad vibes between him and Rondo
  • being kicked to the bench and supplanted by Bradley
  • feeling less loved by the organisation in terms of salary, contract (and trade talks)
  • and to top it all off, the super sales pitch from the HEAT, plus the great Miami environment

Check out the fiery thread in CelticsBlog, lots of un-love there.

I’m feeling rather disappointed in Ray, always thought he was a team player. That being said, I sort of felt this was coming and understand his unhappiness, especially all the shit with the trade bait. I reckon the chances of him staying would have been higher, had he not been continually strung along and made to feel like he did not have job security in Boston.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said of the scenario. “But I don’t want to go into this season, like I have in past seasons, worrying about whether I was going to be traded or not. At this point we want to ride it out, take this thing to the house, and not have the instability of not knowing whether today or tomorrow something is going to happen.

“For all of us, you deal with that over the course of your career, but wherever I end up after this summer, that has to be the No. 1 mandate. At this time I owe it to my family to be ultimately selfish, because I’ve been a very unselfish team player, and I’ll always do that. But when it comes to myself and my family, I have to make sure that I don’t rock their worlds or put them off kilter in any fashion.”

– via “Future still bright, if not Green for Ray Allen” on Boston Herald

Going off to any other team would have been fine really. Bulls, Sixers, Clippers even, take your pick. To go to the effing Miami HEAT who took us down repeatedly in the playoffs to chase a ring, is just.. sigh. Words fail me. I wonder how the rest of the team feels, especially KG and PP. Some fans are calling him a traitor, sellout, ring whore even. I’m not going to that level yet but boy does it really sting.

But according to a league source, Allen’s request from the Celtics went beyond the pale — reportedly a demand for a three-year, $27 million contract. The Celtics, according to the source, were in the process of attempting to talk Allen down from $9 million to $6 million per year.

– via “Ray Allen spurns Celtics, picks Heat” on The Boston Herald

And he was asking for a bigger package than the Celtics were willing to offer, so it made sense if the HEAT was giving a better deal to him. But no, they actually offered way less.

So had the Celtics actually buckled under and given that contract he wanted, does getting more money actually make up for all the earlier unhappiness about Rondo, trade bait, game minutes, bench lineup and all that? I’m always of the opinion that money does not equate to happiness. If he was thinking that way, I can only say he was way off (so bloody off), and I would be happy for him on this decision, since he wouldn’t need to take money and feel unhappy for another effing season.

And with that, the Big 3 era ends. Goodbye Ray, I have always loved your work ethic, your shots, your professionalism. Free agents are free to go anywhere, nothing’s owed. I just hate the fact that you walked off in the middle of a reload with the other guys still around, and went over to the HEAT for the chance at a ring and a bunch of sales talk.

“The one thing that bothers me the most is guys taking big pay cuts for a year to go down there and try to win a championship,” Bird said. “There’s a lot of guys who like to ride the coattails of the best, and they’ll take a pay cut just to have an opportunity to win that ring.”

– via “Bird weighs in on LeBron and the Heat” on the Miami HEAT Index

It’ll take a while for this irate anger and disappointment to wear off, but I’ll always remember #20 as the consummate sharpshooter in green with 2561 and numerous clutch shot moments, and the one worked his ass off despite having bone spurs, despite not having lift to shoot the usual jumper, and the one who was shedding tears in the recent postseason loss, about how he “wanted it so bad.”

Not as the one who went over to the red “to ride on the coattails”, as Larry so aptly put it. I just wish he could have made the decision to stick around until the Big 3 era ended, or even left in a classier fashion.

And on to the continued free agency, where we have limited options on the budget to get more guys into the team; vet minimum or bi-annual, take your pick. Fingers crossed.

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