Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/13/14
The cliche storyline of why people don't like the Miami Heat is that the Heat are a collection of big names that banded together to co-opt a championship at the expense of a true team. Ray Allen is helping that narrative pretty well. Allen, who was at first docile in his comments about why he left a Celtics team with which he won a title to be a bench player for the Heat, has been more frank in recent days. This past weekend, he told a Miami radio station that the Celtics "put me in the position where we had to move." He has reiterated that view as the regular season gets closer, telling the Miami Herald that what he saw as a deep lack of respect from Boston for himself as a player was what drove him away. "I was very loyal to the city, and I love the city, but when it came time to keep me in a uniform, [the Celtics] did everything they could to seem like ... to not want me to come back," Allen said. The Celtics could have given Allen more money, but he had already been sent down the pecking order as the 2012 season finished up. As Allen fought through an ankle injury, he saw his starting spot taken by Avery Bradley, whose energy and defensive ability made Allen more of a bit player until he was needed again in the playoffs as Bradley sat out with shoulder injuries. Allen says the trend of him being used less -- and of less talented players taking his spot on the court -- was what he saw if he stayed in Boston. "In Boston, they were telling me they were going to bring me off the bench -- 'We're going to play you less minutes' -- and all I asked was, 'How are you going to use me, because the last two years you've been using me as decoys,' " Allen said. "You're running all these plays for me just to pass it to somewhere else, and you're not putting me into any scoring opportunities, and I'm just standing over in the corner the majority of games." While Allen saw his production drop in Boston, it was usually because he and fellow stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were sharing the scoring load, not because Allen couldn't play at his level anymore. Allen had always been a team player, but he appeared unwilling to see his role shrink even more. While the Heat will also bring Allen off the bench, Allen said it was their concerted pitch to make him a key piece that made the difference. "Miami, they did everything they could," he said. "It was like, even though they were limited money-wise, they were talking about how to play, how the game can be played and how they were going to incorporate me into the offense." What Allen saw as a diminished role and a lack of respect didn't just include his spot in the offense, though, according to the Miami Herald article. The troubles Allen had with point guard Rajon Rondo also made staying in Boston difficult. Rondo and Allen had long had problems getting along, and although they still played well together, their issues weren't helping the team get better. Rondo appeared to have some resentment for how Allen was treated in the media, with Allen much more approachable and willing to talk than the known-to-be-prickly Rondo. Allen also said the years-long rift between the two went back to 2009, when Allen said he and Rondo were almost traded to the Suns. Allen intervened and told Rondo to talk to management after hearing that the fractious relationship between Rondo and coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge may have been what was causing the possible trade. Allen told the Miami Herald that he guessed that was where Rondo took offense and the problems began. "So, for some reason, I guess he thought that I was ... that I had something against him, or there were some issues," he said. "And I have no issues with him. I won with him." But the damage was done with Rondo, and the damage was done in trying to trade Allen, a move he would cite later when saying he wasn't pleased with how management always seemed to be looking to send him away. The final tipping point, however, as Allen tells more of his side of the tale, appears to be that the perceived lack of respect of Allen as a player was what spurred him to finally go. The Heat have won another talented piece, and they've fulfilled people's criticism by winning that piece at the expense of a situation where the Celtics were asking Allen to be a team player. Miami may not be able to rid itself of its negative image -- at least as long as Allen's in town.
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