What’s next for the Big Three is the biggest question circling around the Internet right now in the aftermath of the C’s defeat in the Eastern Conference finals. Ray Allen has been, on the surface, the most likely one of The Big Three free agents to leave Boston it would appear, although as I’ve stated on Twitter and will cover in more depth this week, I don’t think it’s a sure thing Boston lets him walk away (nor should they).
However, a story that is picking up steam is the fact Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had some tension between each other this year. Chris Mannix is well versed and connected within Boston circles, so his word here comes with some validity, although it’s not something I had sensed/heard about myself within the locker room this season. Here’s Mannix description of it in an interview on WEEI: this morning:
“There is going to be a ton of interest in Ray Allen in the offseason,” Mannix said. “He’s going to be able to pick and choose where he wants to play.”
Allen conceivably could return to Boston, but Mannix said that decision might be affected by Allen’s apparent struggles to get along with Rajon Rondo.
“I think there’s no question that the relationship was strained over this year,” Mannix said. “How strained is the key, and it’s still a little bit unclear. There was some friction between those two. I think that could play a role in Ray’s decision not to come back. Now, I agree, I think that Boston probably wasn’t going to bring him back anyway, you’re right, it’s Avery Bradley’s job and Ray isn’t coming back to the Celtics to be a bench player, especially when he can be a bench player on a team that might be more likely to win a championship. But I think the relationship over the last year between Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo soured. Now, I’m not entirely clear as to how bad it got. But certainly I know that there was some legitimate, palpable friction between those two players and I think that will ultimately affect his decision in free agency.”
A lot of things could pull Allen out of Boston this offseason, but my hope is any potential tension between Rondo and Ray is last on the list. Based on how these guys talked about each other after Game 7, I would hope that is the case.
More analysis on Allen’s situation and free agent possibilities to come later this week on CelticsHub