If the goal is to get the band back together, then the idea of splitting them up again should be the furthest thing from the Boston Celtics’ minds. You don’t stage a Beatles reunion only to trade Ringo for Charlie Watts and a backup vocalist to be named later.
So a no-trade clause ought to be a no-brainer for the Celtics regarding veteran sharpshooter Ray Allen and, frankly, either of the other Big Three who might have been in position to request it.
Allen, an unrestricted free agent two weeks shy of his 37th birthday, spent Thursday being wooed by the Miami Heat. If Boston basketball boss Danny Ainge is serious about keeping his team’s core intact for six and seven seasons of the group that won straight outta the gate in 2008, he probably will have to do more than outspend the Heat.
That part’s a given; Miami can offer Allen only the “mini mid-level” exception of about $3 million, with the Celtics offering double that for two more years. Even if the Heat agreed to a third year for the finely conditioned but defensively challenged Allen, he still would make more in two seasons in Boston.
But that’s the key: In Boston. From various reports, it’s clear that Allen isn’t interested in being shopped around the NBA when his salary becomes inconvenient. He, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett went through that to varying degrees last winter as Ainge tinkered with short-term vs. long-term considerations. Such a move rocked the Celtics’ locker room in 2010-11, too, when center Kendrick Perkins of coach Doc Rivers’ vaunted starting five was moved to Oklahoma City. If Allen is going to change teams, this is the time to do it – by his hand, his choice.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has been monitoring the situation, which has a few more wrinkles than just the impact of corner 3-pointers:
Allen told the Herald months ago that he didn’t want to have to sweat out another trade deadline after nearly being moved in the past, and word is the Celts are ready to comply with either a no-trade clause or a trade kicker (most likely the latter) that would get him a good-sized raise if he does get moved.
There also has been of Allen’s fractured relationship with point guard Rajon Rondo and frankly, we don’t know how much to read into this. There have been countless successful situations in which stars have regularly bickered to no ultimate detriment.
Obviously, Allen to Miami would be several levels of unacceptable for Celtics fans. He would be joining the NBA’s defending champs and the foes who snatched away Games 6 and 7 from Boston in the East finals. He would be entering into a pact not only with hated rivals LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, he would be allying himself with Pat Riley, the bad guy in Boston in all his L.A., New York and Miami incarnations.
Also, Allen would risk booing upon his return to TD Garden each season and perhaps even jeopardize a spot for his uniform number someday in the arena’s crowded rafters.
A trade kicker to pay him more money for the upheaval and lack of control forced on him by management? Hardly seems enough to placate a guy like Allen, who has earned upwards of $175 million in his career. But a rare no-trade that snuffs the rumors before they even can begin next time? That could be priceless, and the thing that gets it done.