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Time to stop giving Ray Allen the business for his decision

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  July 12, 2012 02:03 PM

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Ray Allen handled his introduction as a member of the Miami Heat/ official exit from the Celtics with grace and gratitude.

It would be nice if Celtics fans could do the same.

Laundry is all you're rooting for if you are now feverishly condemning a player who two months ago was revered as part of the tapestry of a beloved team. He's still the same dead-eye shooter. He's still the same diligent, polished professional. He is still the same articulate spokesman for juvenile diabetes, which has afflicted his son Walker. He still has the same affinity for the city, fans and franchise.

"I'll always be a Celtic no matter what," said Allen, who referred to the Celtics as "us" in his Heat intro on Wednesday. "...I don't care what people say about me. I'll always stay true to the city of Boston and the fans there. They've been great to me. I'll always consider that place home."

The man with one of the game's all-time sweetest strokes has left a sour taste in the mouth of many Celtics supporters, bypassing Boston's two-year $12-million offer to ink a three-year, $9-million-and-change deal with the Heat.

Fine. But Based on the hue and cry that has gone up about Allen hooking on with the Heat you would think that he had renounced his entire five-year tenure as a Celtic, pawned his championship ring for a couple of Jet Skis he can tool around Biscayne Bay on, and called Rajon Rondo a dangerous socialist.

OK, so that's hyperbole. But so are the cries from the Parishioners of the Parquet that Allen has committed an unforgivable act of perfidy, forsaking logic, loyalty and an additional $3 million to join the hated Heat.

If you liked or admired Allen before, you still should. It's just impossible to root for him because he's on the Celtics' most heated rival. Understandable.

What I don't get is why some fans are taking it so personally and taking shots at the NBA's all-time leading 3-point marksmen.

Was it not universally acknowledged that when the Big Three epoch came to a close Allen was the most likely to depart? Allen simply did it on his terms and not those of Celtics president of basketball operation Danny Ainge.

If the Celtics' trade deadline deal with Memphis had gone through, a swap that would have sent Allen to Memphis for O.J. Mayo, the result would be the same. The reaction would not, however.

When a player gets traded or has his name swish about in trade talks like a glass of Chardonnay at a wine tasting it's just business. But when a player executes his right to play elsewhere, it's a personal affront and an act of basketball betrayal, so much so that the owner of the team goes on local radio and punctuates a statement about how he'll remember the player by saying he'll remember that he left the Celtics for the Heat.

Really, Wyc? That's as memorable as Allen scoring 51 points against the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs in 2009, or hitting seven 3-pointers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals a day after his son had been diagnosed with diabetes, or the game-winning 3-pointer he sunk against the Toronto Raptors in just his second game as a Celtic?

(Check out the celebration after the Raptors win. It looks like the Celtics just won the NBA title.)

Allen made the type of decision that owners and organizations make all the time -- a business decision. He did what was in his best interests, just like the Celtics were doing what was in theirs by exploring trades for him in 2010 and last year and offering him a two-year deal instead of the three-year deals they gave Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry.

Allen concluded that if he were going to accept a diminished role as a reserve it was easier to swallow elsewhere. He determined that being fourth on the marquee in Miami behind LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was preferable to taking a back seat in Boston's Core Four. He surmised he would have more reliable crunch-time minutes with Miami than competing for those minutes with Terry and Avery Bradley. He concluded his professionalism had begun to be taken for granted by the Celtics.

It would make sense if Allen were a bit irked that the team gave Terry, who will turn 35 in September, a three-year deal. At age 35, Allen garnered a two-year, $20 million deal from the Green in 2010.

Allen bears responsibility for this basketball break-up too. He shouldn't be airing dirty laundry on his way out the door and doing a drive-by on Rajon Rondo's reputation.

He should understand that Bradley's emergence is just part of the circle of life in the NBA. He should recognize that Garnett is a sine qua non part for the Celtics.

But Allen was always the member of the Big Three/Core Four who had to sacrifice the most -- shots, minutes, pride -- and he was always the one most easily sacrificed by the team in trade proposals.

That's an uneasy existence, and it's one that will make a player overly sensitive to slights, both perceived and real.

Allen was also the player most directly threatened by the ascension of Rondo. It's not surprising that they wouldn't have a good relationship. It had to rankle Allen, a pro's pro, that he was being supplanted on the masthead by a player whose occasionally peevish behavior can border on unprofessional.

Allen had lost both his standing in the team's hierarchy of stars and his starting role after Bradley played so well in his ankle-injury absence.

He decided that if he was going to enter a step-back phase of his career he wanted to do it with a new team.

However, he's still the same old Ray, even in somebody else's laundry.

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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news

Dearth

...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.

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