Ray Allen

Ray Allen says Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett haven’t spoken to him since he left Celtics for Heat

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The players and coaches of the Celtics team that won a title in 2008 and contended for a few years afterward pretended as though there was a bond in place that was more special than it was anywhere else.

But once the business side of things began to take precedent over the basketball side, things changed.

Ray Allen was the subject of multiple trade rumors leading up to his decision to leave the Celtics and join the Miami Heat in the summer of 2012. He had no guarantees from the front office as to what his future would be in Boston, and perhaps seeing the writing on the wall that the Celtics’ window to win another title had already slammed shut, he hopped onto the roster of the defending champs.

That didn’t sit well with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who wanted to keep the band together for one more tour. And they still apparently haven’t forgiven Allen for his decision, even now that more than an entire season has passed.

From Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald:

“They haven’t spoken to me,” Allen said before last night’s game against what remained of his former team. Allen played 24 minutes and had five points with three assists as the Celtics stunned the defending champion Heat, 111-110. …

“For them to be so upset with me is disappointing because of how everything happened,” Allen said. “That banner in 2008 is still going to be there, and we’re still going to be tied to it.

“Look, I have a feeling they were in the same predicament I was in this summer. Even with Doc (Rivers), he had to make a decision that was best for himself. I was in the same situation. I’m happy they were put into the same situation as I was. Anytime you get traded there’s no telling where you could end up. They’re in a situation now where they can contend. Kevin had to make that decision, and that was the predicament I was in.”

The whole thing seems fairly hypocritical of Pierce and Garnett now that they’ve also left Boston, albeit via trade instead. But Garnett had to waive his no-trade clause to go, so one could easily argue that he chose to leave, as well.

Then there’s Doc Rivers, of course, who forced his way out of Boston to coach the Clippers after admitting to not wanting to stick around for the rebuilding process — even after he signed a contract extension in 2011 that he knew would take him well past a point where the core players at the time would still be playing at a level where competing for a title was possible.

Maybe that bond wasn’t so special after all.

Doc Rivers: If Paul Pierce retires, Clippers would let him join Celtics first

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 3:  Head coach Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics share a laugh at the end of the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons during the game on April 3, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Clippers forward Paul Pierce is mulling retirement, which would mean another franchise icon could leave the NBA this summer — Lakers great Kobe Bryant, Spurs great Tim Duncan and Celtics great Pierce.

However, unlike Kobe and Duncan, Pierce left his original team.

Personally, I don’t think stints with the Nets, Wizards and Clippers do much to diminish Pierce’s Boston bona fides. Everyone will remember him as a Celtic. Fifteen years and a championship in Boston will do that.

But just in case you need more reason to tie Pierce to the Celtics, Clippers president/coach and Pierce’s former Boston coach Doc Rivers has a plan.

Rivers, as transcribed by Jay King of MassLive:

“If Paul decides to retire then we’re going to make sure that Boston picks him up for one day and he retires a Celtic because that’s what he should retire as,” Rivers said during an episode of The Vertical podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski, which was released early Thursday. “So we have all that in place. We just don’t know what he’s going to do.”

Apparently, Amar’e Stoudemire is a trendsetter. Stoudemire signed with the Knicks to retire, the first NBA player in memory to sign with a team for that ceremonial reason. Previously, it’d mostly been done in football and baseball.

If Pierce wants to follow that path, kudos to Rivers for allowing it to happen.

Rivers just has to make sure he executes the transaction wisely.

The Clippers would waive Pierce, and presumably, nobody would claim him to interfere. Pierce could then signed an unguaranteed contract with Boston. Pierce would retire, and the Celtics would waive him to clear his salary from their books.

But Pierce is due $3,527,920 on his current contract this season, and $1,096,080 of his 2017-18 salary is guaranteed. If the Clippers just waive him, they’ll be on the hook for that money. They can pay Pierce as a retirement gift, as the Spurs did with Duncan. But that seems foolish for a team facing the hard cap and without such deep ties to the player.

Before waiving Pierce, the Clippers should renegotiate the guaranteed portion of his salary (a buyout) — all the way down to $0. If Pierce is retiring, his team no longer has to pay him. Reducing his guaranteed salary would just hasten the process of getting him back to Boston.

This isn’t that complicated. It just requires Rivers to get the details of cap management correct. Actually…

Carmelo Anthony predicts Knicks-Bulls on Christmas or opening night

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 23: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks shoots over Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Carmelo Anthony said the Knicks should have gotten a Christmas game last year. In hindsight, the NBA reportedly agreed.

So, Anthony expects New York to get a marquee matchup — against the Bulls — on either Christmas or opening night.

Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal:

The storylines are overflowing.

The Knicks added Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah — two former Bulls — to join Anthony, who strongly considered Chicago in his last free agency. The Bulls answered with a couple big names: Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. They’ll join Jimmy Butler, whose stature is only growing — just like Kristaps Porzingis in New York.

Those are plenty of attention-drawing players, and the league will want to capitalize, even if we’re talking about a couple middling Eastern Conference teams.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that New York and Chicago are huge markets.

Newspaper uses crying Michael Jordan photo with article on his race statement

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame speaks during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Michael Jordan issued a statement on race in America and donated $2 million to a couple worthy causes.

That drew international coverage, including one curious photo choice:

Only in Malawi.

Watch Amar’e Stoudemire’s top 10 career plays (video)

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When Amar’e Stoudemire retired, I said history will treat him better than present-day analysis — maybe even to the point he gets legitimate Hall of Fame consideration.

Get past Stoudemire’s injury-caused decline with the Knicks and his wayward years with the Mavericks and Heat, and Stoudemire was a heck of a player with the Suns (and in his first year in New York).

Thanks to the NBA, the process of remembering Stoudemire for his peak can begin immediately. I was blown away by the first few highlights before realizing they were just the introduction for the top 10.