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Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he's to blame for Ray Allen's departure to Miami.In an interview with Yahoo! Sports at the London Olympics, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers opened up about his emotions after Ray Allen elected to sign with the Miami Heat and blamed himself -- not Allen's deteriorated relationship with point guard Rajon Rondo -- for Allen's primary decision to accept less money for a spot with a chief rival.
"People can use all the Rondo stuff -- and it was there, no doubt about that -- but it was me more than Rondo," said Rivers, who is working as an NBC analyst during the Olympics. "I'm the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I'm the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn't mean guys liked that – and Ray did not love that – because Rondo now had the ball all the time.
"Think about everything [Allen] said when he left, 'I want to be more of a part of the offense.' Everything was back at Rondo. And I look at that, and say, 'That's not Rondo's fault.' That's what I wanted Rondo to do, and that's what Rondo should've done. Because that's Rondo's ability. He's the best passer in the league. He has the best feel in the league. He's not a great shooter, so he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. And that bothered Ray.
"And not starting [games] bothered Ray. I did examine it, and the conclusion I came back to was this: By doing the right things, we may have lost Ray. If I hadn't done that, I would've been a hypocrite. In the opening speech I make every year, I tell the team: 'Every decision I make is going to be what's good for the team, and it may not be what's good for the individual.'"
Allen turned down Boston's two-year, $12 million offer to accept half the value in Miami, who could offer only a $3 million annual salary utilizing the taxpayer's mini-midlevel exception. Rivers questioned the notion that Allen, who lost his starting job at the end of last season in Boston, will find a bigger role with the Heat.
"Ray's got to do what's best for Ray," Rivers said, "but having said that, he's not going to start in Miami. And I doubt he gets the ball more. But I do think, for a guy like Ray and Paul and Kevin and Kobe [Bryant], it's easier to go somewhere and do that, than have it taken from you where you're at.
"As a coach, you've got to do what's best for the team. If guys don't like it, they're going to leave. If they stay and don't like it, well, your team's going to suck anyway. Even if this happens, you still have to do it. You can't coach worrying about any individual. You've got to coach worrying about your entire team: Whether that gets you a championship or whether that gets you fired.
Is Rivers trying to deflect blame for Allen's departure off Rondo? Does Rivers actually deserve any blame for Allen's decision? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments.