When Ray Allen left the Boston Celtics for the Miami Heat this offseason, many believed that his tension with point guard Rajon Rondo led to his departure.
But Celtics coach Doc Rivers took the blame in an interview with Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski.
“People can use all the Rondo stuff – and it was there, no doubt about that – but it was me more than Rondo,” Rivers told Wojnarowski. “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.
“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.’ ”
Rivers also said that, unlike fans, it didn’t bother him that Allen chose to sign with one of Boston’s rivals.
“I could care less he went there,” Rivers said. “And that’s a fact. With the fans, I know it was: How could he go to Miami? But once he decided he didn’t want to stay with us, he has the right to wherever he wants.”