Members of the NBA title winning 2007-2008 Boston Celtics are still holding a grudge towards Ray Allen for joining the Miami Heat in 2012.
In an article published today by The Undefeated today, point guard Rajon Rondo, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls after spending 9 seasons with the Celtics, told Marc J. Spears that he is setting up a vacation for his former Celtics teammates in a reunion-type fashion with the 10-year anniversary of the team’s championship run coming up.
“This is going to an out-of-the-country thing at an undisclosed location. We’re going to get it together, enjoy life, reflect and check on each other. Next year will be the 10-year reunion, but I’m going to do it this summer.”
The reunion will obviously include Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and others, but not Allen. Rondo said he asked unidentified ex-Celtics about inviting Allen to the vacation, and he received the same response each time:
“I asked a couple of the guys. I got a no, a no head shake,” said Rondo to The Undefeated when asked why Allen wasn’t invited.
Boston paired Allen together with Pierce and Garnett in the summer of 2007 after acquiring him and Glen Davis from the Seattle Super Sonics in-exchange for Jeff Green, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, and a 2008 second-round draft pick. Allen then re-upped with the Celtics on a two-year, $20 million deal in summer 2010.
That summer, however, the Heat formed one of the most famous trios in NBA history with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all joining forces. Miami would also add a slew of role players down the line like Mike Miller, Shane Battier, and others, but no signing in the Big 3 era was more significant than signing Allen.
The Celtics had reportedly offered Allen a two-year, $12 million contract that included a full no-trade clause in the 2012 off-season, but Allen was seeking more security down the line as he was winding down his NBA career. Allen received another year tacked on to his deal with the Heat, but less money at $9.5 million.
Miami signing Allen only ignited more fire between the Celtics and the Heat as one of the best rivalries in the NBA before the Celtics decided to trade away Pierce and Garnett in June 2013. That’s because most Celtics players really grew a hatred towards Allen for signing with what they called the “enemy.”
“It will be a long story about that, but it is what it is,” Rondo said. “I don’t know a good analogy to put this in. It just wasn’t the greatest separation. It wasn’t the greatest thing that could’ve happened to us as a team, a bond. We were at war with those guys [Miami]. To go with the enemy, that’s unheard-of in sports. Well, it’s not so unheard of. It’s damn near common now.
“The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn’t do anything like that. It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for? You didn’t bleed green. People think we had a messed-up relationship. It’s not the greatest. But it’s not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got [without Allen].”
Outside of Rondo and Pierce, Memphis Grizzlies wing Tony Allen is the only other player from that 2008 Celtics team still playing today. Garnett retired last season, Allen retired earlier this season, and Pierce is set to call it a career following the conclusion of this season.
That leaves Rondo, who is still just 31 years of age in a weird position. It defined feels like the four-time NBA All-Star is much older than 31.
“I’m just trying to stay young and take care of my body, Rondo said. “Taking it one day at a time, one season at a time. It went too fast. We are already talking about getting together on our 10-year anniversary. I’m like, ‘Ten. It’s been 10?’ It definitely went fast. It seemed like just yesterday where we were talking about how old K.G. was at 31. Look at me now, I’m 31 in the same situation, Young guys call me, ‘The O.G.’ I’m embracing it. I’m accepting it. But I didn’t expect to hear this s— so soon.”
Rondo’s comments about Allen are not a surprise to anyone who has followed the relationship between the two for some time now. Rondo is notoriously known for not being able to get along with teammates well, and Allen had an interesting story about how his issues with Rondo began.
Speaking to the Miami Herald in 2012, Allen said that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and then-Celtics head coach Doc Rivers didn’t get along with Rondo in 2009. This news came after Ainge and Rivers proposed a trade to Allen that would’ve sent him and Rondo to the Phoenix Suns in-exchange for Amar’e Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa, and the 14th pick in the NBA Draft.
Allen then called Rondo about the trade proposal, and it was from there that Allen said he sensed that Rondo thought he and Allen had some issues and they didn’t get along. That wasn’t the case to Allen at least, as he cited that he thought he ‘won’ with Rondo in the 2012 interview.
Maybe one day the 2008 Celtics and Rondo can come full circle, but that day doesn’t seem to be in the near future.
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