Ray Allen left despite no-trade clause

Updated: October 26, 2012, 1:24 PM ET
By Jackie MacMullan | ESPNBoston.com

In the end, not even a no-trade clause could prevent Ray Allen from leaving Boston to join the Miami Heat via free agency.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told ESPNBoston.com on Thursday that in addition to offering Allen twice as much money (two years, $12 million) as Miami did (three years at about $3 million per) to stay in Boston, he also added a no-trade clause to the contract.

Ainge said he was aware of Allen's frustration at constantly being mentioned in potential swaps during his time with the Celtics.

"I knew the (trade rumors) had been weighing on him," Ainge said.

For his part, Allen mentioned several specific instances of proposed deals he was included in, but there was no one reason that led to Allen's change of heart about Boston. Rather, it was the cumulative result of what he viewed as an erosion of his value to the team. The no-trade clause wasn't enough, nor was the $6 million a year, which would have left him as the fifth-highest paid Celtic behind Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Jeff Green. That, too, was a problem. Minutes were an issue, and so was his lack of touches. Allen had lost faith in coach Doc Rivers, his old golfing partner, who minimized his role in the offense.

When Allen decided to accept the Heat's offer, he called Ainge, texted Garnett and left town.

"Two years ago when I was a free agent, the whole organization sent me a text asking me to come back," Allen said. "This time it was a little more subdued."

This time, while Pierce and Garnett texted their support and Ainge initiated the dialogue at the stroke of midnight, Rivers stayed out of the negotiations. Their relationship, once strong, faltered in Allen's final months wearing Celtic green.

"Doc never called and said, 'We want you to come back,'" Allen said. "I can't say I expected him to do that. It's hard to say what the protocol is in those situations."

As for the constant uncertainty regarding trades, Allen said, talks began within months of his arrival in Boston. According to Allen, during that 2007-08 season, which resulted in a championship for the Celtics, Boston discussed a swap of Allen for Tracy McGrady.

"I got word of it through back channels," Allen said.

Two years later, he said, he got word that both he and Eddie House were on the block. House was the one to go, to the New York Knicks for Nate Robinson. There was the aforementioned dalliance with Phoenix in 2009, and then last season, Allen was nearly traded to Memphis for O.J. Mayo.

The team was in San Francisco on their West Coast swing when Allen got a call from Ainge at around 12:15 p.m., the afternoon of the trade deadline.

"Danny told me he had a deal on the table for me to go to Memphis for O.J. Mayo and he asked me what I thought," Allen said. "I told him I didn't like it. I told him I didn't want to leave Boston. He said, 'I hope you understand my position.' I said, 'I know you have to build this team for the future, but I'm not happy about it.'"

Allen called his family and instructed them to pack their things. Instead, 45 minutes later Ainge called back to say the deal was off.

"I went to Paul's room and he said, 'Damn, I almost got traded to New Jersey,' and I told him, 'I thought I did get traded to Memphis,"' Allen said. "What could we do? We just laughed about it."

Ainge acknowledged Allen's version of events regarding talks with Memphis, but claimed Pierce "was never going to New Jersey."

"The Nets had a No. 3 pick and they talked to us for about 30 seconds about Paul," Ainge said. "It was never close."

Jackie MacMullan

ESPNBoston.com columnist

SPONSORED HEADLINES

EDITORS' PICKS

  • Ready To Run
    Boston's runners and citizens are ready to take back their marathon.
  • Early Risers
    Hours after a walk-off win, the Red Sox are back at it in their Patriots Day matinee.
  • That Look In Their Eyes
    The Bruins took it to the Red Wings in Game 2, knotting up their series.
  • Staying Strong
    On the eve of the marathon, the Sox recalled survivors, victims and heroes.
  • Setting The Tone
    As usual, Tom Brady will be front and center when voluntary workouts begin.

ALSO SEE

MORE NBA HEADLINES