AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
Celtics coach Doc Rivers will let Ray Allen do the talking now.WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers doesn't seem intent on starting a war of words with old friend Ray Allen. Apprised of Allen's recent comments, including a suggestion that the Celtics were poised to trade Allen and Rajon Rondo to Phoenix as part of a 2009 blockbuster, Rivers shrugged off the chatter after his team practiced on Wednesday.
"We’re going to just let Ray keep talking," Rivers said. "It’s easier.”
Allen has become more vocal in recent weeks about his departure from Boston, including a radio appearance in Miami in which he suggested he was "forced" out by the Celtics. Backlash from that interview left him opening up to the Miami media in the days that followed. From the Miami Herald:
Allen sat down for three separate one-on-one interviews -- with The Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post -- on Thursday to clear the air well before the season opener. He said the friction with Rondo began in 2009 when Rivers and Celtics president Danny Ainge proposed a trade that would have sent Allen and Rondo to Phoenix for Amare Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa and the 14th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Allen said that, at the time, Ainge and Rivers “didn’t get along” with Rondo.
“So I called him and I told him, ‘Hey they’re supposedly trading us to Phoenix because you and Danny and Doc don’t get along,’ ” Allen said. “ ‘So, whatever you can do.’
“So, for some reason, I guess he thought that I was … that I had something against him, or there were some issues. And I had no issues with him. I won with him.”
Now, Allen says if Rondo “had issues with me, that’s on him.”
“I have a way of going about doing my job that, I want everyone to come and play their hardest and come in and do their job and I can’t, I don’t worry myself with things I can’t control,” Allen said.
Asked about the potential Phoenix deal, Rivers said on Wednesday, "I didn’t even know it, so I’m surprised right now. I never knew that. I don’t think that’s true."
When asked for a rebuttal on Wednesday, Rondo, who has taken to not referring to Allen by name this offseason, followed Rivers' cue.
"I don't know what happened or hear anything," Rondo said. "I just stay focused and hit the gym. I didn't read any papers or see anything on the news about No. 20."
The Celtics and Heat meet in the NBA's season opener on Tuesday in Miami. That's the night the Heat will raise a championship banner and Rivers admitted he's uncertain how he'll handle his team at that moment. Will he keep them on the court for motivation? Or stash them in the locker room to ignore it?
"I haven’t given it a lot of thought, I probably should," Rivers said. "I’ve been dreading it. I haven’t even thought about what we’re going to do. I’ll wait until -- it’s a [TNT] game, right? -- so I’ll wait until they give us the exact timeline of the game, then figure out what we’re going to do."