It’s a bit of a surreal weekend here in Boston. To a degree, it’s almost fitting that the Celtics’ own poor play has consumed the region so much over the past couple weeks, there has been little, if any time to speculate about the return of Ray Allen to the TD Garden Sunday afternoon. How the C’s play on the floor will be the far bigger issue than Ray tomorrow as they attempt to put a stop to a 6-game losing streak against the defending champions. Nonetheless, Allen will be in the Garden for the first time in an opposing uniform since 2007 and there are still plenty of fresh wounds from his departure. Here’s Marc Spears from Yahoo! Sports with plenty of quotes from Ray on it all:
Allen says the reason for his departure from Boston was “a collection of everything.”
“We’ve been in multiple trade scenarios for the past two years,” Allen said. “It’s almost been a sense of disregard from my place wanting me in this situation and then coming into free agency.
“They prioritized who they wanted to sign and then they came to me matter of factly. Then you tell me I’m going to come off the bench and take less minutes.”
Added Allen, “When you put me in the situation where you’re not giving me any understanding or explanation of where the team is moving and what direction you’re going in, then you’re building around in another direction… At the end of the day whether it makes sense to you or not, you’re not showing me that you really need me back or want me back.”
Some more perspective from Michael Wallace of the ESPN.com:
“I think I’ve moved on, but who I was as a Celtic will always be inside of me, as well as everything I played for,” Allen said of his highly anticipated return to Boston, now as a member of the Miami Heat. “All of those memories my whole career, you look back at everything I’ve done, it’s a collection of many different places and people.”
Allen won’t be rattled by the moment — or the memories.
“All positive,” Allen said of his overall feelings about the Celtics and Boston. “Everything that I accomplished there, everything that I experienced there brought me to this place where I’m at now. And I’m appreciative of all of it, because the negative you learn from just the same.”
Will Boston fans vehemently boo and jeer him for bolting to the team that ended their season each of the past two years? Or will they respectfully acknowledge his accomplishments there, where he became the NBA’s career leader in 3-pointers alongside Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo on teams that twice reached the Finals?
“I’ll deal with it when it comes,” Allen said. “But you never really know until you get there.”
That doesn’t quite sync with what Ray told Marc Spears in his story.
“Everywhere you go when you’re on the road you’re going to get booed anyway,” Allen said. “I expect that because I’m on the other team now.”
To put it bluntly, I expect the boos to outweigh the cheers tomorrow for Allen at the TD Garden. I also wonder though whether the team’s recent struggles may fans a bit more appreciative and understanding of Ray and his decision to skip town for sunnier skies in Miami.
With that said though, I leave it to you guys. How will you react tomorrow to seeing Ray in a Heat jersey at the Garden? If you were going to be there (or will be there) what would your response be? And what do you think the crowd will do tomorrow?