When Boston and Cleveland announced on Tuesday they had agreed to a blockbuster trade that would send Kyrie Irving to the Celtics and Isaiah Thomas to the Cavaliers, a number of players around the league were shocked at the deal.
For the first time in NBA history, a trade had been reached between teams that met in the conference finals the season prior. Thomas—Boston’s beloved point guard who electrified the city with a 53-point playoff performance following the death of his sister—will now be playing for the Eastern Conference rival that ousted the Celtics from title contention.
Although many fans are certainly disappointed to see Thomas leave, there doesn’t appear to be any major backlash directed at president of basketball operations Danny Ainge or the organization. Former Celtics guard Ray Allen wants to know why.
“Why is it that we are disloyal for going to a team we feel will be best for us, but there is no outrage towards the teams that trade us?” he wrote on Instagram. “Fans kill us, but when a team does it, it’s just business.”
After five seasons with the organization, Allen left Boston to sign with the Miami Heat in 2013. Neither Celtics players nor fans were happy with his decision because the guard didn’t leave for just any team. “He left for the enemy,” as former teammate Rajon Rondo put it.
Allen’s apparent disloyalty has led him to become somewhat of a polarizing figure, despite his crucial role in Boston’s 2008 NBA title run. He wasn’t invited to the championship team’s 10-year reunion, Kevin Garnett doesn’t have his phone number anymore, and a contingent of Celtics fans consistently sneer at him on social media.
While some express their gratitude for his contributions, others call him a traitor and a snake for his abrupt decision to leave the team. But Allen thinks if that’s the case, the Celtics should be receiving the same treatment for their recent personnel changes.
“I expect every Celtic fan to be pissed off at the organization because they showed that they were disloyal to Isaiah,” he continued on Instagram. “They traded him to your rival!!!!!! The team you guys played in the conference finals. Oh wait, now it’s just business.”
To summarize his frustration with what he believes to be hypocrisy, Allen re-posted a photo from NBA forward Caron Butler. The quote in the image read: “Celtics traded a guy who played in a game for them a day after his sister died, but y’all expect players to be loyal to the franchise, sure.”