Although much has been made of Ray Allen's reportedly frosty relationship with Rajon Rondo, coach Doc Rivers tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that Rivers, rather than Rondo, should be blamed for Allen's departure from Boston. According to Rivers, Allen wasn't pleased with a reduced role in the Celtics' offense and rotation, a decision made by the coach.
"I'm the guy who gave Rondo the ball," Rivers said. "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…. And that bothered Ray.
"And not starting [games] bothered Ray," Rivers continued. "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.'"
According to Rivers, he mediated issues between Rondo and Allen for most of the five years that both players were in Boston together, with the relationship between the backcourt mates worsening in 2010/11. Wojnarowski reports that Allen also took issue with how he was compensated, his reduced role, and the fact that his name was constantly included in trade talks.
Rivers doesn't believe Allen's role will be any greater in Miami than it would have been in Boston. However, the C's coach points out that it may be easier for a veteran player to accept a lesser role when he's getting a fresh start, rather than being gradually shifted into that role by a team that used to feature him more. Rivers also holds no ill will toward the veteran sharpshooter for his decision to sign with the Heat.
"For a week or two, I was really disappointed, pissed, because I thought it was for all the wrong reasons," Rivers said. "It was more about himself, his team. And then, I realized: Well, it should be about himself. It was free agency. I wasn't thinking right."