“Our relationship won’t change,” Rivers said while attending last night’s summer league practice at Rollins College. “Just because I disagree or I’m disappointed in Ray’s decision doesn’t change the way I feel about him.
“He talked to me. It was a good talk,” he said. “You know how I am. A guy makes his mind up, I’m not going to try and change it. I respect him for all he did for us, and I thought he should have stayed with us. Actually, you just have to let it go.”
Rivers, as such, has no regrets, even if he never had a sense of Allen’s final decision.
“I didn’t. I didn’t know one way or the other,” he said. “I just knew financially that we were in a better position. But he had his reasons for leaving, and I’m sure he’ll express those with you guys. No, I didn’t agree, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what I think. I just wish we could have found a way, and we didn’t. Always put it on us — it’s easier.”
Later, Rivers talked about the notion that the Celtics appeared to recruit Kevin Garnett harder than Allen, maybe leaving Allen feeling like less of a priority to the team:
“We recruited,” he said. “We couldn’t fly him to Miami because he was in Boston, but other than that we recruited him just as hard...
“I thought we (courted Allen). (Celtics president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) in particular did exactly what he should have done. Kevin Garnett was our focal point, and he should have been. If that got anyone ruffled, then that’s probably too bad. We did everything we were supposed to do. At the end of the day you just follow the money trail, and in this case, for whatever reason, it didn’t work. He had his reasons. He probably got bent sideways a bit by us courting Kevin. I really don’t know, honestly.
“But at the end of the day he was great for us here, and that’s all you can say. Clearly we would have liked him to stay with us, but I respect Ray, and that will never go away.”
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