There was some reports yesterday that Ray Allen was considering opting out of his contract for next season in Miami because he wanted to return to Boston. Among the flaws of this rumor was the presumption that the Celtics organization wants him back.
Besides, Ray Allen is where he wants to be — back in the NBA Finals. And he played a key role in Game 7 getting the Heat to this point, knocking down threes.
Ray Allen angered a lot of Celtics fans taking less money to bolt to the hated Heat last summer, but he told the Sporting News this is exactly why he did it, he feels validation.
“Yeah, it does,” he said. “When we sat down and we talked about it, we being my family and the people that supported me over my life, we talked about being selfish and giving ourselves the best opportunity to win. We wanted to win, we didn’t want to be in a situation where we were going to struggle. Sitting here in this situation, it’s a great relief. Because sometimes you take a gamble. Your family believes in you, and we’re here and I can say that we’re in the situation we put ourselves in and we’re happy with it. We know that we can see the end of the road.”
Allen was offered three years, $9.5 million by the Celtics but took two years (the second a player option) at $6.2 million to be in South Beach. There was certainly a little bad blood there, tied to Allen feeling Danny Ainge shopped him around, but mostly it was about this for Allen. He wanted another ring and Miami was more likely to offer him one. Boston fans felt betrayed, which is fine.
But Allen likes where he is. And he’s not coming back to Boston.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.
Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.
The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.
I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.
That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.
Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:
Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.
But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.
On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.
To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.
The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.
It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.
TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).
Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.
But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.
So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.
But at least he has that opportunity.
Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.
Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.