HANG TIME TEXAS, Y’ALL – Circle the date: Jan. 6.
That’s the night when the Pacers make their first visit to Boston this season and Ray Allen can get his question answered:
Why did David West turn his back on the Celtics tradition and All-Star laden lineup to sign with Indiana?
“I’m shocked,” Allen told Jackie MacMullen of ESPNBoston. “I don’t understand it.”
Allen first heard of West’s potential interest in Boston last month when Allen was playing golf in Augusta with his private banker, who coincidentally also handled West’s financial affairs.
“He told me how much I would love [West], that he and I were the same kind of guy — cognitive thinkers,” Allen said. “He said West was interested in coming to the Celtics and would be willing to come for less.”
So why does Allen think West had a change of heart?
“Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in,” Allen said. “He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to ‘What is a championship worth to you?’ ”
It’s not often that you hear a player of Allen’s magnitude and classy demeanor call someone out so directly. There was no pulling punches or hiding behind qualifiers. He was saying that the 31-year-old West, coming off reconstructive knee surgery, went for the bigger payday rather than the bigger potential payoff of trying to win a championship.
So was Allen merely being shamrock green with envy that the Pacers wound up with the big-scoring forward that the Celtics could use to make one more run at a championship?
One might think that in this era of big name players trying to come together to form “super teams,” West might have at least been given a little credit for not choosing to “short-cut” his way to putting a ring on his finger.
But Allen chose the directly opposite tact, speculating that the only thing West was short on is the guts to take a few less dollars. When you say something like that, you’re not merely talking trash. You’re questioning the inner workings of a player as a competitor.
“Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We’re still taking less to make it work. But it’s worth it. No one can ever say to KG, Paul or me, ‘You guys never got your ring.’ “
Never mind rivalries. It sounds like the beginning of a good old-fashioned grudge match.
Save the date – Jan. 6.