End of an Era in Boston

by

When the NBA season ended, I wanted to disengage from basketball as much as possible. It was a long roller coaster ride of a year full of surprises and disappointments, with perhaps the biggest emotional disappointment being the way Ray Allen bolted to Miami after the Celtics lost a classic 7 game series in the conference finals. I stand by my hatred criticism of that decision because his actions contradicted his words. His rationale in wanting to leave Boston was that he could not accept a role coming off the bench (it’s funny how when Allen Iverson also said this, he was essentially shown the door from the league and unofficially blacklisted to return) I can understand a player who has been an all-star consistently throughout his career, with the work ethic that Ray Allen (and also Iverson. Don’t believe the bullshit fed to you that he didn’t work hard. Nobody makes the NBA, let alone becomes an MVP without working their arse off) has displayed finding it difficult in making that adjustment. Accepting new roles as circumstances change is as significant as anything else in surviving in the realities of the NBA.

And Ray left. To Miami.

Wait… Miami? The Miami Heat? With Lebron and Bosh and, ahem, Wade? Yep: That Miami Heat. Look, I don’t have a problem with The Heat. This is not about them, but look at the context. He left Boston, because he couldn’t handle coming off the bench to go to the team that had eliminated The Celtics the previous two years to not just come off the bench, but to be their 9th man. And (I would underline that numerous times if I could) he took less money! Had he bolted to The Clippers, Chicago, Oklahoma or even The Knicks, I would have kept all my respect for him. Hell, it would have looked better for him if he went to the Yankees and thrown out pitches before each game against The Red Sox than going to Miami.

It was the beginning of the end of an era in Boston that not many people saw, and today with the trading of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn after Doc Rivers leaving for The Clippers, and basketball fans around the world are looking back and reminiscing. But just remember, this era was only around since 2008. It’s going to be a much bigger shock when Kobe, or Duncan, or Garnett himself actually retires. Just like we didn’t pay too much writing that was on the wall when Allen left, the signs are right there in front of our eyes that those warriors are on their last legs. I know I’m going off topic here, but just be prepared. It will be a shock.

It’s time to address the elephant in the room.

There has been quite a lot of talk regarding if there is a difference between Allen and Doc leaving. Was it the same, with just a different level of expectations for a player than a coach? No (and remember, this is coming from someone who defends players almost exclusively) It’s important to acknowledge that only the Celtics know what happened behind the scenes. I will try to use their actions to justify what I think are (or were) their intentions. After that game 7 loss to Miami in 2012, Boston did not rebuild, they actually reloaded. They brought in Jason Terry and Barbosa along with resigning Jeff Green and KG. As mentioned before, they offered Allen more money than Miami. By bringing in new firepower, their actions were that of a team wanting to make another run at the title. Now, if we look at the actions relating to Rivers. The Celtics, were eliminated in the first round after a pleather of injuries to their entire squad. They had no choice but to rebuild, and Rivers is due to make 7 million a year which is far too much for any coach in a rebuilding situation. It was in the best interests of all parties involved if Doc and The Celtics parted ways.

That’s the difference.

No, not THAT elephant!

Oh, Rondo? Come on. As important and as good as Rondo is, he is still limited. His intensity is as inconsistent as his jumper (which, to his credit, has improved mightily) and there has been question marks concerning his leadership and maturity. But let’s put this all in perspective. Do you guys really think that The Celtics would let Rivers go when he was under contract and trade Garnett along with Pierce (within their division!) against their will just to appease Rajon Rondo? Come on.

So what now?

Well, it goes without saying that The Celtics are truly Rondo’s team now. But he’s not alone. Avery Bradley and Jeff Green are a pretty good nucleus to build around. The question is do they fully, Florida Marlins-style blow this thing up or do they look to add one or two pieces to this core that they have now. As for The Nets, their budding rivalry with The Knicks sure is getting heated and Brooklyn does have a formidable starting 5 with Lopez- Garnett- Pierce- Johnson- Williams. But being good on paper and NBA 2K doesn’t equate to anything in the NBA. I think they will still be second fiddle to the Knicks, and behind Miami, Indiana and Chicago in terms of being a contender in the East.