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Woj: Doc Rivers Blames Himself For Ray Allen’s Departure

Y! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski caught up with Doc Rivers. The topic? Ray Allen’s departure. Rivers:

“Think about everything [Allen] said when he left, ‘I want to be more of a part of the offense.’ Everything was back at Rondo. And I look at that, and say, ‘That’s not Rondo’s fault.’ That’s what I wanted Rondo to do, and that’s what Rondo should’ve done. Because that’s Rondo’s ability. He’s the best passer in the league. He has the best feel in the league. He’s not a great shooter, so he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. And that bothered Ray.

“And not starting [games] bothered Ray. I did examine it, and the conclusion I came back to was this: By doing the right things, we may have lost Ray. If I hadn’t done that, I would’ve been a hypocrite. In the opening speech I make every year, I tell the team: ‘Every decision I make is going to be what’s good for the team, and it may not be what’s good for the individual.’ “

“But here’s what wasn’t going to change: The ball’s not going to be in Ray’s hands more, the ball’s going to be in Rondo’s hands. That’s not going to change. Now that you’ve voiced you should have the ball more, or you want to start, or you want more freedom in the offense, that’s not going to go away. It’s going to be the same stuff.”

There’s a clear theme running through Doc’s comments in this piece and it’s effectively this: Ray Allen was struggling to come to terms with his decline. Allen couldn’t accept that he was being de-emphasized in the offense and rotation in favor of Rondo and Avery Bradley, respectively.

So, even though Doc’s blaming himself, he’s really turning the finger back on Allen. Because by no measure were the Celtics more effective on the floor with Allen in the starting lineup versus Bradley and by no means could Allen create offense the way Rondo could. If Allen’s priority was Allen, instead of the good of the team, then he didn’t fit into Celtics culture anymore, particularly one headed by Rondo, a player he apparently disdained.

(And to be fair, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade can probably create more open shots for Allen with their drive-and-kick games than Rivers’ offense would have done. In turn, Allen’s ability to space the floor should open up even more options for Miami’s two megastars. There’s an argument that Allen fits better in Miami than Boston.).

This hardly puts a bow on the Allen years. We have several more stages of (alleged) grief to go through, including the Celtics going up against Allen on opening night in Miami, his return to the TD Garden in January, and potentially, some more direct discussion of the problems between he and Rondo, who has yet to go on record on the topic.

  • I_Love_Green

    So instead of accepting what was best for the team, he ditched us for the enemy.

    • -V-

      He also took a massive pay cut !! But all said i didn't make sense for Allen to get back to Celtics once they acquired Terry. His role would be further diminished.

      And now Boston at some point will have to deal with a lineup of : Battier, LeBron, Bosh, Allen, Wade !

      • NHBluesMan

        and they'll counter this way…
        Garnett on Bosh
        Bass on Battier
        Pierce on LeBron
        Rondo on Allen
        Bradley on Wade

        the only CLEAR advantage the Heat have with this match-up is LeBron on Pierce… KG and Bosh is a wash-out, Rondo can shut down Allen, Bradley can more than contain Wade, and Bass can handle Battier.

        Offensively, the Heat can't guard Bradley and Rondo if Allen is on the court- if Allen guards Rondo he'll get blown by, and if Allen tries to guard Bradley he'll have to deal with a much younger and more athletic player. Even if they put LeBron on Rondo, who guards Pierce? There's no way they can get around this issue defensively

  • Phil

    Allen definitely fits in better with Miami instead of Boston, I don't see how that's much of a discussion. Remember all of those open threes that Mike Miller and Shane Battier were clanking last year? Yeah…

    That said, if his problem was coping with his diminished role in the NBA (which seems true to me,) then I'm sure he'll love getting paid 3m a year to be a better Steve Novak. Because that's what he is for Miami now; the best one trick pony spot up shooter in the league.

    If Ray was on Miami for the last 5 years instead of Boston, I'd bet he'd hate it there even worse than he supposedly hated it in Boston. The way it is though, Miami benefits from being his rebound (I don't think he signs there without what happened to him last year,) and Boston will now have to counter him if they want to get back to the NBA finals. I think Miami's better off with Ray, and I think Boston is better off with Terry. How much for each side will likely be decided in the playoffs.

    • High Rollers

      As Jet said, the teams aren't even going to play each other. A shoot-out between Ray and him will take place instead. Jokes aside, I'd rather have the teams go at it. Boston/Miami (Boston/LeBron)… best rivalry in the game going into its third year (fifth year… would be sixth but BOS/LBJ didn't meet in '09 playoffs).

      • High Rollers

        Two potential rubber-matches await C's fans. BOS/LBJ, which is currently at 2-2. And BOS/LAL at 1-1. No wonder the league is thriving. The great rivalries are holding up their ends of the bargain.

    • dslack

      I'm actually not sure that he's a better Steve Novak. Steve Novak is a damn good Steve Novak.

      • zach

        I'm sure he's better than Steve Novak (at least he was last year when he was healthy). Ray can still pick his spots and drive and has a quicker release than Novak plus better BB-IQ.

        • NHBluesMan

          Ray can't drive… unless he has a wide-open lane, and even then it's not a given

  • GMan

    I don't know what Pat Riley told Allen, but there's no way he'll have the ball more in his hands in Miami. And I don't see them starting him either. More open three's maybe, but I don't think that's what it is about. This is not the way the Big Three era should've ended, I don't know what to feel.

    But the more I hear, the more I'm comfortable with Terry as a replacement. He'll be great for us!!!

    • kg215

      You are correct Ray will get a lot more open shots, even if he doesn't get more shots. Lebron and Wade attract a ton of attention, the kind that no other 2 players in the league do including KG+Rondo on our team. Right now Ray is still a lethal shooter both in 3s and midrange, but his ballhandling/defense/passing have all taken a nosedive. In Miami all that other stuff is taken care of by their 2 superstars even the defense. Ray fits better there, and Lee/Terry fit better here. We really needed a scoring bench player who can handle the ball (Terry) and a young defensive stopper who can still spread the floor (Lee). Even just 1 of those guys have potential to be better with us than Ray, with both they should be way better. In the same way the Heat wouldn't need Terry/Lee very much Ray fits there perfectly.

  • I Bleed Green

    After reading the Yahoo article I was more happy then ever that Allen left. Doc is the best coach in the league and facing another injury plagued season he made 3 major decisions to make the C's relevant:
    1) Rondo is the leader and future – the ball always goes through him.
    2) Garnett will be more effective at the 5 spot.
    3) Allen will be more effective as the 6th man.
    All were based in the fact the Big 3 couldn't carry the team anymore.

    Garnett accepted his new role (which says so much about him since in his prime he was twice the player Allen ever was dominating both ends of the floor and redefining how 7-footers play the game). The move not only revitalized the Celtics – it rejuvenated and extended his career.

    Ray refused his new role, ignoring the fact that his defense (even before the ankle injury) was a liability, and that he never had the handle or versatility to have the offense run through him. At his best he was a deadly spot up shooter. At his worst he was defensive gap and a turnover waiting to happen. Good riddance.

  • bballee

    Actually I think this Wojo article is the perfect bow to complete the Ray Allen Celtics stay. In fact if a Celtic fan returned from a six-week vacation on a tropical island with no media access, I would recommend he read the Wojo article and avoid everything else written about the Heat signing. Doc said it better than anyone else, and without the misplaced rancor so prevalent on the web.

  • zach

    Ray was a great Celtic but this was the right time for him to leave. He gave us a ton, but the combo of him and PP on the wings just could not work anymore. Bradley's speed is just what the "Doc" ordered to mitigate the slowness at the 3 spot

  • Anthony

    Didn't really want to discuss any more about Ray leaving but it basically came down to Ray's mindset that he's still an alpha-dog. In retrospect, I think Ray felt slighted and maybe even bitter for not getting more credit for the Celts' success the past 5 years. And rightfully so but in the end, KG and Pierce handled it a little better than Ray.

    One thing I like to point out about the article is Doc's growth as a mainstay in the Celtics organization. I've had my own criticism for his coaching decisions in his first couple of season as a head coach but I've really come to respect him as a person and a leader of this organization. It's good to see the team's in good hands (Doc, DA, Rondo, etc.) while still keeping with tradition (KG, Pierce, etc.).

  • Vince

    I'm at peace with Ray's departure, and it appears that Doc is, too. Ray played hard every night for 5 years, God bless him, and we appreciate everything he did for the Celtics. But he decided it's time to move on, and I don't think that Doc or Rondo or PP or KG will have a problem doing so.

    Ray's not a Celtic anymore. Thanks for the memories, we're moving on, too. And we think we're better with Jet, Lee, and AB. (Just think how awesome we'd be with Jet Li, ha ha)

  • skeeds

    Locker room problems or not, the truth is that, for Ray, it was the right decision. I get the complaints about Rondo having the ball in his hands too much. I remember discussions being made in this site, about the fact that Ray wasn't getting the same quality looks he used to. When PP doesn't drive much anymore, KG doesn't play inside, and Rondo's the one doing all the penetrating and creating spaces, then sure, Ray becomes less effective. Miami gives him a chance to stay productive and be an important part of a championship run.
    And for the Celtics, unfortunately, he really was the one to go. We all new that the "breakup" of the big 3 probably meant trading Ray or letting him go. I wouldn't want to see him coming in for 20 minutes off the bench like he's Eddie House, playing backup for his former peers. Still sucks that he went to the Heat, but whatever…

    • janos

      hi skids is Janos
      Are you think ever writing NBA? have good point somtime lots, here, enjoy reading this posts often times. if haynes fire rick bring you is better nba all. on point this ; we trade ray two time this season but not take so player have feel to get hurt but hard when see rondos go top dogged beyond him but player hard long time here so let move on, beat in game hear each time and wish well but not well title but not injure , well, i guess?

      • skeeds

        Thanks Janos, you're awesome!
        It's exactly as you said. Let him move on, and beat him every time!

  • Mickey

    Ever think that signing Terry before Allen made any decision might have had an effect. I don't think dating a new young girl before there is even talk of a divorce from the old lady makes the old lady feel like there is much of a future in the marriage. Just a thought.

  • mick

    Fact is, the Celtic's offense was horrible all of last year. Whatever Doc was doing was clearly wrong unless we think a team starting Ray Allen, Rondo, KG and PP should be ranked 26th out of 30 teams in offensive efficiency. Watch the games – they couldn't get buckets…

  • James Patrick

    I trust Doc. He's one of the best coaches in the league. Like i said. Ray is a primadonna. needs to get his ego in check. I'm sure that'll happen very soon in Miami and then he'll be totally regretting his decision.

    • joe


  • emg

    too bad Avery won't be ready game 1.

    not to change the subject but *we should consider whether the shoulder surgeries will make Bradley a more timid and weak player, throw off his shot, etc.

  • Ted

    It's all Danny Ainge's fault. I won't stay with a team that's been trying to trade me for two years. Everyone keeps talking about the money. That Allen took less to play in Miami, is ridiculous. He got three years and a no trade clause in Miami and Boston only offered two and weren't going to stop looking to trade him. Allen got no love from Danny so he bounced.

    • GowGow

      He hated Danny, fine. But why join the enemy?

    • NHBluesMan

      no way did Ray get a no-trade clause. The only player in the NBA with one is Kobe- he got an opt out clause after his first year, that's it

  • felix

    who cares about the past. ray is gone.
    what worries me a lot more is the fact that Green still is not signed. The official boston nba-website speaks of "the possible signing of jeff green". this is really not good.

    • janos

      hi felix is Janos
      you know fan celtics NBA are care on team ok? so that is who care. us care.

      • felix

        dear Janos is felix. me not care about ray because ray not on team anymore.jeff green on future team, hope me.

  • janos

    Hi Haynes, is Janos

    are you watch games OLypic today? USA beat Nigeria much point; 90? on one game?. lebron try get revenge for times give money this guys on email scamming can win 100pts not get that money back.

  • jimbo

    I totally get what he's saying and don't disagree that Rondo needs the ball in his hands or else his defender can just let him hangout alone by the popcorn stand, but it does make me wonder about how a guy like Terry will be effected. When Rondo and Terry are on the floor at the same time, does Terry ever get a chance to handle run pick and rolls or is he relegated to being the 3pt shooter Ray was? Does Rondo get more rest or more run with the second unit to allow Terry to run with the ones for a few minutes a game? Curious how Doc maximizes Terry's abilities.

  • Morpheus

    Doc is the GOAT. Red’s spirit lives within him, God bless him. What a classy guy, carrying the cross for the Celtics like a true leader.

  • Morpheus

    Haha I am so over Judas Shuttlesworth anyway, seriously though, let’s move on from that traitor and let’s focus on hanging that #18 banner in the rafters.

  • green goblin

    celtics will get #18 this yr, pretty sure of that