When Ray Allen took his talents to South Beach in 2012, he created a rift between himself, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and the entire Celtics organization. Allen and Boston didn't see eye-to-eye for years, but Pierce finally buried the hatchet with Allen in China this weekend.
Pierce posted a picture of himself with Allen on his Instagram page, saying it's "time to get the band back together. No matter what happened, we all formed a special bond that can never be broken."
Why is this picture important?
Many of you know that Boston formed a big three of its own in 2007. That 2007-2008 team had three future Hall of Famers in Garnett, Pierce, and Allen. The Celtics won the NBA Championship that year, and the team as a whole clicked on all cylinders throughout the year, rarely skipping a beat.
However, things began to turn sour after the Celtics lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals. Boston's roster was getting older, and Allen noticed that quickly. So, in 2012, Allen decided to sign with the LeBron James-led Miami Heat, which was Boston's biggest rival at the time. James was hitting his stride, and Allen decided to chase another ring. Pierce, Garnett, and the other Celtics players at the time did not like Allen's move whatsoever.
Shortly after Allen's departure from Boston, Garnett said he wasn't trying to communicate with his ex-teammate. “I don’t have Ray’s number anymore," Garnett told ESPN. In fact, Allen didn't tell any of his Celtics teammates about signing with Miami, a move Pierce wasn't a fan of.
“I was initially hurt by the whole way everything went down. ... I just figured if it was me leaving, I would have [called each player and said] ‘this is what I’ve been thinking about,’” Pierce said during on Area 21. “That’s what I was hurt by when Ray didn’t at least give us a heads up about it. And then, to go to the team [that we were competing against.] I think I would have took it better if he just talked to us about it.
“But I just felt like we should have had a conversation, and it was have settled over a little bit more. I don’t think we would have been as salty. ... I just think if we would have talked about it, it would’ve been a little different than it is now. Now it’s uncomfortable. I haven’t talked to Ray in some years now. It’s just different.”
Allen's Celtics teammates felt betrayed by his departure, and they did not communicate with him for a long time.
Area 21 segment
It's 2017, five years since Allen decided to leave Boston for South Beach. Garnett and Pierce are retired — and Garnett finally has his own show named Area 21 on TNT. In May, Garnett invited Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, and Rajon Rondo to Area 21 for a segment.
Davis, Perkins, and Pierce took turns expressing their thoughts on Allen's departure in 2012, but Rondo decided not to comment. Garnett wasn't shy about voicing his opinion, saying Allen's decision to move on from Boston was a very sensitive matter.
“People don’t understand that this is real life for us, and that the situation with Ray is very sensitive,” Garnett said. “I think when we all talked about doing this reunion tour, we were talking about guys we considered loyal and a part of this group. Just being honest, my two cents man, when Ray decided to go to the Heat, I feel like he moved on. He went to pursue another ring, and he got another ring. Shoutout to him. And that’s it. It wasn’t no other Wizards, it wasn’t no other Heat, it wasn’t no other Spurs. It was all Celtics invited to this.”
Indeed, Allen saw the Area 21 segment and posted a picture of him in a Heat uniform elbowing Rondo. The caption said: “The power to push limits.” There was definitely some bad blood between Allen and his former Boston teammates. On the other hand, it looks like both sides are ready to bury the hatchet, but there is only one problem.
Will the other Celtics players finally put this conflict to rest?
Yes, Pierce's Instagram picture shows that he and Allen resolved their issues. But what about Garnett, Rondo, Perkins, Davis, and the other players from that historic team? Time will tell if the rest of Allen's former teammates will finally talk to him. But for now, it's great to see The Truth smile with an old friend.