Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he thought his decision-making was the primary reason why guard Ray Allen chose to sign with the Miami Heat over staying in Boston, not the veteran's deteriorating relationship with Rajon Rondo.
"People can use all the Rondo stuff -- and it was there, no doubt about that -- but it was me more than Rondo," Rivers told Yahoo! Sports in an interview conducted at the London Olympics, where the coach is working as an NBC analyst. "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.
SportsNation: Rivers Takes The Blame
Doc Rivers took the blame for Ray Allen leaving Boston, but should he have spoken out? Comment and vote!
"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."
Rivers also told Yahoo! that Allen was bothered by losing his starting job to Avery Bradley, but the coach said he didn't regret the decision to start Bradley because it was what was best for the team.
Allen turned down Boston's two-year, $12 million offer to accept half that from the Heat, who could offer only a $3 million annual salary utilizing the taxpayer's mini-midlevel exception. Rivers questioned the notion that Allen will find a bigger role with the Heat.
"Ray's got to do what's best for Ray," Rivers told Yahoo! Sports. "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 (Pierce) and Kevin (Garnett) and Kobe (Bryant), it's easier to go somewhere and do that, than have it taken from you where you're at."
Focusing on doing what's best for the team instead of worrying about how individual players feel allows him to "coach free," Rivers told Yahoo! Sports.
"I always tell my guys: If I'm wrong, hopefully I'm smart enough, or my staff, or one of you guys -- because I do listen to you -- will tell me that I'm wrong," Rivers told Yahoo! Sports. "But not one player ever told me, 'Hey, I don't think you should start Avery.'"
Rivers admitted to being initially "pissed" at Allen, not necessarily for choosing the Heat but for his reasons for not wanting to return to Boston. He added that he rationalized it soon after and since has moved on.
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