Doc Rivers took the blame Wednesday for the departure of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, telling Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that he had to make some tough decisions that likely hastened Allen's exit.
Rivers said it was his decision to empower Rajon Rondo as the team's floor leader in the last couple of seasons, a decision he knew Allen had issues with.
"Think about everything [Allen] said when he left," said Rivers. "'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."
Rivers took the blame, but he didn't dismiss the fact that there were real issues between Rondo and Allen.
"People can use all the Rondo stuff – and it was there, no doubt about that – but it was me more than Rondo," said Rivers, who is working as an NBC analyst during the Olympics. "I'm the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I'm the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn't mean guys liked that – and Ray did not love that – because Rondo now had the ball all the time."
Rivers said he knew making Avery Bradley a starter over Allen would not sit well with Allen. He said he knew that, but he also understood the consequences of the decision and felt it was worth it to make the move and do what was best for the team. Rivers said he didn't agree with Allen's reasons for leaving, but that he didn't blame him for doing so.
"Ray's got to do what's best for Ray," Rivers said, "But having said that, he's not going to start in Miami. And I doubt he gets the ball more. But I do think, for a guy like Ray and Paul and Kevin and Kobe [Bryant], it's easier to go somewhere and do that than have it taken from you where you're at."
Allen turned down a two-year, $12 million offer from the Celtics to sign a two-year, $6 million offer with the Heat. Jason Terry and Courtney Lee will take over Allen's role for Boston.