Ray Allen

Celtics Notes: Ainge, Thomas, Rozier, Pierce

Celtics president Danny Ainge says the decision to include Isaiah Thomas in a package to get Kyrie Irving from Cleveland was “the toughest call I ever had to make,” relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Thomas shared his thoughts on the deal in an article this week for The Players Tribune, which Ainge called a “fabulous job.” As a former player, Ainge said he empathizes with the feelings of being sent from one organization to another.

Ainge refused to explain his motivation for the deal, but explained that he is always trying to improve the team. “It’s in everybody’s best interest that I don’t share all the reasons [for the trade],” he said. “But the bottom line is obviously I felt like it was the right thing for our franchise to do. But it’s a deep and complicated process. It’s not as simple as people think it is. … It’s not easy for these office people that become great friends with the players. There’s a reality that I see and that’s what makes any sort of trade challenging. But it’s just part of the world that we live in, but it’s got to be done. You’ve got to do what’s best for the franchise. The franchise is bigger than all of us. Bigger than one individual.”

There’s more out of Boston:

  • Terry Rozier wasn’t worried about being traded over the offseason, he told Adam Kaufman of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. Entering his third season with the Celtics, Rozier is among the most tenured players on the team following this summer’s roster shakeup. He said he concentrates on producing on the court and leaves the personnel decisions to the front office. “The guys up top, their job is to get the team together and our job is to play,” Rozier said. “I’m pretty sure Danny and all our organization who make the decisions will have us ready, put us in the right spot.”
  • Paul Pierce is ready to end his feud with Ray Allen, according to Adam Reisinger of ESPN. Pierce posted a photo on social media of himself and Allen, who are both serving as coaches for a celebrity basketball game in Shanghai, with a caption that read, “Time to get the band back together.” Allen has been an outcast with many of his former teammates since leaving Boston to sign with the Heat in 2012.

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Allen, Simmons, Russell

The Celtics‘ decision to trade Isaiah Thomas is drawing anger from some former players on social media, relays Andrew Joseph of USA Today. Caron Butler blasted the deal on Instagram, saying “Celtics traded a guy who played in a game for them a day after his sister died, but y’all expect players to be loyal to the franchise, sure.”

Butler’s post drew a response from ex-Celtic Ray Allen, who alienated many teammates in 2012 when he signed with the Heat. The bitter feelings still linger, as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce excluded Allen from a Celtics reunion in May. “But since the team does it I guess it’s just business,” Allen wrote in response to Butler’s post. “Smh!! It is just a business so when the teams do it there’s no difference when the players do it!!”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Thomas family is taking a different approach to the deal, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Thomas’ father, James, offered thanks to the Celtics for the opportunities they gave Isaiah. “There were good times in Boston,” he said. “They were good to us. They gave my son a chance to play in the NBA. It’s nothing against them. I have only good things to say. I can’t cut them. Hey, every starter that was there this year is gone except one. Maybe they did what was best for Boston, or at least they think they did.”
  • After missing all of last season while recovering from a broken foot, the Sixers‘ Ben Simmons has been medically cleared for basketball activities, according to Tom Moore of GateHouse Media (Twitter link). The first overall pick in 2016 reportedly participated in a recent pickup game in Australia.
  • After moving from the Lakers to the Nets in an offseason trade, D’Angelo Russell has bigger goals than just helping Brooklyn improve after a 20-win season, writes Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily“I want teams to hate us,” Russell said. “We’ve struggled over the last few years in Brooklyn. Teams are used to coming in and taking nights off. I just want to rebuild that and make it a place where people come and say, ‘alright we got the crowd against us. It’s New York.’”

And-Ones: Seattle, Summer League, Ledo, Prigioni

Ray Allen has been in the news lately for his beef with his former Celtics teammates, stemming from his move to the Heat. Before he played for either of those clubs though, Allen was a four-time All-Star for the Seattle SuperSonics. The longtime marksman was at his best during his time in Seattle, averaging 24.6 PPG in 296 regular season contests, and he still has a fondness for his old home. As Alysha Tsuji of USA Today details, Allen suggested in a recent Instagram post that he wants to see the NBA back in the city.

“I still can’t believe that there is no basketball in Seattle!!” Allen wrote on an Instagram post that featured the hashtag #bringbackoursonics. “This city is too great not to have a hoops squad. Come on everybody we need to rally and bring the NBA back to Seattle. let’s make this happen people!!! The NBA misses traveling to Seattle, I know I certainly do!!!!!”

As we wait to see if Allen follows Russell Wilson‘s lead and officially joins a group trying to bring the NBA back to Seattle, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • The NBA officially announced today that a record 24 teams will compete in the Las Vegas Summer League from July 7-17 this summer. While multiple Summer Leagues take place in July, the event in Vegas continues to be the most popular.
  • As David Pick reports (via Twitter), Spanish team Baskonia made a roster move involving a former NBA player earlier this week, signing Ricky Ledo, a second-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft. According to Pick (via Twitter), the move to add Ledo was made because Baskonia feared that former NBA sharpshooter Chase Budinger would miss the rest of the season with an injury.
  • Pick has another update on Baskonia, tweeting that the Spanish club is considering the possibility of hiring Pablo Prigioni as its future head coach. Although he played four seasons in the NBA, Priginoi spent most of his career in the Euroleague, spending a long stint with Baskonia in the 2000s. He recently retired as a player, and it appears coaching may be the next step for him.

And-Ones: Nurkic, Durant, R. Allen, W. Bynum

The Trail Blazers and Warriors will play Game 2 of their series on Wednesday night, and both sides may be missing a key player. Jusuf Nurkic, who continues to recover from a fractured leg, announced today that he won’t play in Game 2 for the Blazers, per Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Kevin Durant, who recently returned from a knee injury, is now battling a left calf strain and was listed as questionable on the Warriors’ injury report today (Twitter link).

As we wait to see if Durant is able to give it a go for Golden State, let’s round up a few odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • Appearing over the weekend on ESPN’s The Jump, Ray Allen was asked about why he hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2013/14 season, and explained that contract offers he received since then wouldn’t have given him a chance to have a real role (link via Adam London of NESN). “Most of the inquiries I have received were how ready am I to accept my role as a veteran and sit on the bench and mentor the young guys,” Allen said. “I’d love to do that, it comes naturally to me, but I do want to play.”
  • Veteran point guard Will Bynum has reached a deal to play for Luoyang in China this summer, according to 24/7 Basketball (Twitter link). Bynum, who has had multiple stints in China, played with the Pistons for several seasons in the NBA.
  • Canton Charge swingman John Holland – who has spent time with the Celtics and Cavaliers – is also headed to China, having agreed to a contract with the Beijing Eastern Ducks, Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net confirms. International basketball journalist David Pick first reported (via Twitter) that Holland was finalizing a deal with the Chinese club.
  • The Maine Red Claws and Raptors 905 are currently battling for the right to advance to the D-League Finals, and each team saw a key contributor take home a major award within the past few days. 2016 Celtics second-rounder Abdel Nader was the D-League’s Rookie of the Year, while Edy Tavares, who spent most of the season with the Raptors‘ affiliate, was named the NBADL Defensive Player of the Year. Tavares is now on the Cavaliers‘ roster, having been signed on the last day of the regular season.

Ray Allen Discusses Retirement Decision

Longtime NBA sharpshooter Ray Allen formally announced his retirement last Tuesday, writing a piece for The Players’ Tribune to make his decision official. The timing of the announcement seemed unusual to many observers, since Allen hadn’t played in an NBA game since 2014, but as the 41-year-old explains to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, he hadn’t fully given up on the idea of returning to the court until this year.

“After the 2014 Finals, I didn’t really think I was done and I thought there would be an opportunity,” Allen said. “Then, I was thinking I didn’t necessarily need or want to go to training camp. So I was going to wait and see if there was a team that made sense for me.”

While Allen wanted to continue his career at that point, he didn’t want to jump at the first offer, preferring to find a team that could meet several criteria — decent money, an opportunity for playing time, a chance to contend for a championship, and a coach who wouldn’t necessarily push his players through grueling practices, per Zillgitt.

Allen confirms that the Rockets made an enticing offer back in 2014, and Zillgitt hears from a source that Houston’s proposal was worth the full mid-level exception. However, that wasn’t enough to sway Allen, who never ended up finding a deal he liked for 2014/15.

“That first year went by, and it didn’t make sense. There was nowhere I thought I could fit in,” Allen said. “Coming into last year, I said, ‘Well, let’s see how it goes again.’ I started thinking, ‘Do I really want to do it? Do I want to be with my children? Or do I want to be away from my children?’ Then again, there wasn’t a situation that was worth it. Two years went by so quickly.

“One of the biggest factors was for me not to go back was the simple fact that I won twice already,” Allen added. “I believed going into the ’14/15 season, if I hadn’t won a championship, then I would’ve been on somebody’s roster. I would’ve moved. I would’ve tried to make it work anyway possible.”

Having finally decided to formally call it a career, Allen isn’t exactly sitting back and relaxing during his retirement. As Zillgitt details, the future Hall-of-Famer says he runs a minimum of two and a half miles per day, and he hopes to run a marathon “in the immediate future.”

And-Ones: Budinger, Allen, World Peace, O. Johnson

After being waived by the Nets last month, Chase Budinger has headed to Spain to join Baskonia. As Eurohoops.net details, Budinger says he’s excited to follow in the footsteps of former Baskonia big man Luis Scola, whom Budinger describes as a “mentor.” There will be no shortage of former Nets on the roster this season for Baskonia, as the team also features Andrea Bargnani, Shane Larkin, and Tornike Shengelia.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Now that Ray Allen has formally announced his retirement, what’s next for the future Hall-of-Famer? Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders explores that subject, recalling that when he spoke to Allen back in 2014, the veteran sharpshooter expressed interest in eventually getting into coaching.
  • The Lakers were in Indiana last night to play the Pacers, and veteran forward Metta World Peace took the opportunity to express some remorse about his time in Indiana earlier in his career, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com. According to World Peace, he can “never forgive” himself for letting so many people in the Pacers organization down.
  • Former second-round pick Orlando Johnson, who appeared in regular-season games with the Suns and Pelicans last season, has signed a three-month deal with Russian team UNICS Kazan, as relayed by Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Johnson was in camp with the Bucks this fall, but didn’t make Milwaukee’s regular season roster.

Ray Allen Formally Announces Retirement

There were rumblings this offseason that longtime NBA sharpshooter Ray Allen was considering making a comeback, perhaps for a team like the Warriors, Celtics, or Bucks. However, in a piece for The Players’ Tribune today, Allen confirmed that he’ll officially retire rather than attempting to return to the court for an NBA franchise.Ray Allen vertical

“I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game,” Allen wrote in the piece, which was framed as a letter to his 13-year-old self. “I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.”

Allen, who turned 41 in July, last played for the Heat, helping the team win a championship in 2012/13 and get back to the NBA Finals in 2013/14. By the end of his final year in Miami, he was averaging well below his career mark of 18.9 PPG, but he still shot an impressive 39.8% on three-pointers during those two seasons with the Heat.

Over the course of his 18-year NBA career, Allen spent time with the Bucks, SuperSonics, Celtics, and Heat, earning 10 total All-Star nods with three separate clubs. He left the game as a 40.0% career three-point shooter, having set the record for most career threes.

Allen’s 2,973 total three-pointers separated him from second place (Reggie Miller) by more than 400 and from third place (Jason Terry) by more than 800. Still, considering the way the game has evolved in recent years, perhaps the idea of a comeback had some appeal as a way to allow him to stretch that lead, keeping it safe for a little longer. Instead, the former UConn standout will call it career, putting him on track for a Hall of Fame induction sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Doc Rivers Talks Pierce, Allen, KG, Griffin

Clippers head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers made an appearance in Boston at the annual ABCD Hoops Dream fundraiser at TD Garden on Tuesday, and made time for a discussion with reporters. Given the location of the event, it was no surprise that many of the questions focused on the NBA futures – or lack thereof – for the Celtics’ old “big three” of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett.

In addition to discussing Pierce, Allen, and Garnett, the Clippers’ coach addressed a few other topics, including the offseason’s Blake Griffin trade rumors. ESPN’s Chris Forsberg has a nice round-up of Rivers’ comments, so let’s check out a few of the highlights….

On whether Pierce will be back for his 19th season, as has been reported:

“Depends on the day I talk to him. Paul has had the summer, he’s gone back and forth. … Paul didn’t have the best year last year. I don’t think he wants to go out that way. So I think that’s why he’s working to try to come back. But he still may change his mind next week. So we just have to wait. I told him if I see him at training camp, I’m assuming he’s playing.”

On Pierce’s eventual retirement:

“The day [Pierce] retires, he’s going to retire a Celtic. He has to. Paul’s a Celtic. So when he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me.”

On whether Allen will return to the NBA:

“I don’t know. I won’t talk about what we talked about. I think if Ray was in the right spot, he may play. I think Ray wants to golf a lot too, right now. But Ray is in amazing shape. I don’t know how he does that. I didn’t know how he does that as a player; I don’t know how he does it as a non-player. He’s probably in top-five shape in the NBA. So could Ray play? Absolutely, I believe he could.”

On Garnett’s situation with the Timberwolves:

“I think Kevin – and I know it, because I talk to him – loves the young guys on his team. He loves how they work. He thinks they have an old-school mentality. So I think he’s really gotten into Kevin, the teacher. And I honestly never saw that coming, either. Yet he was a phenomenal teacher with [Boston]; I just didn’t think he would have the patience to do it. And I think Kevin loves teaching these young guys.”

On the Griffin trade rumors:

“We knew none of it was true. We figured that was one of you guys starting these rumors here in Boston. I was trying to find out who it was … No, it happens, unfortunately. Blake and [Chris Paul] are free agents [after this season]. Just like last year Oklahoma [City] had to deal with that, now it’s our turn.”

Be sure to check out the rest of Rivers’ comments right here.

Celtics Notes: Allen, Crowder, Thomas, Young

A 41-year-old Ray Allen wouldn’t be a good fit on a young team like the Celtics, argues Josue Pavon of WEII 93.7 FM. The former Celtic has been considering a return to the NBA and has reportedly had discussions with Boston and Milwaukee. But with Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder already established and Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and R.J. Hunter all needing more playing time to improve their games, Pavon believes Allen would be an unnecessary addition. The writer also suggests that Allen is using this move as a way to get back in the good graces of Celtics officials and fans and increase the chances of having his number retired. Allen has promised to make a decision before training camps open next month.

There’s more tonight out of Boston:

  • Crowder’s brief absence with a high ankle sprain last season underscored his importance to the Celtics, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. Crowder posted career-best totals last season with 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 steals per night, and Blakely contends that Crowder has All-Star potential if he keeps improving. He’s also becoming one of the best bargains in the league after signing a five-year, $35MM deal last summer.
  • It may have worked out to Thomas’ benefit that the Celtics passed on him in the 2011 draft, Blakely writes in a separate story. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge had his eye on Thomas with the 55th pick, but opted for E’Twaun Moore. Thomas slid to the 60th pick and came into the NBA feeling like he had something to prove. Coming off his first All-Star appearance, Thomas may have to adjust his game with Al Horford in town, giving up a few shots for more assists.
  • The battle for the last roster spot may come down to Hunter and James Young, according to Brian Robb of CelticsHub. Commenting as part of an ESPN.com panel, Robb says they will both need to perform well in training camp to stand out from the Celtics’ large collection of draftees.

Atlantic Notes: Bogdanovic, Allen, Knicks

With the Nets seeking to forge a new identity as the team rebuilds, the 2016/17 campaign will be Bojan Bogdanovic‘s best chance to solidify a place in the NBA for himself, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily writes. The team has let the 27-year-old know that he is in its plans this season, sending assistant coach Chris Fleming overseas to speak with the forward earlier this summer, Puccio notes.

It’s important for me that Chris came to Zagreb, that Nets sent him there,” said Bogdanovic. “That’s proof for me that Nets have big plans for me in next season. We talked a lot what I should improve in my game. He said me how to be more consistent in spot up shooting coming from screens. Also, I should post up more, because I did that a lot in Europe, but not in NBA.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks included partial guarantees of $100K in the contracts of Chasson Randle and J.P. Tokoto, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • By virtue of remaining on the Sixers roster, Robert Covington‘s salary for next season worth $1,015,696 is now partially guaranteed for $50K, Pincus notes (via Twitter). The remainder of the forward’s deal won’t be guaranteed until January 10th, 2017.
  • Ray Allen has reportedly has had discussions with a number of teams regarding a potential NBA comeback. But if the veteran shooting guard is serious about a potential reunion with the Celtics, some fences would need to be mended with team ownership first, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe Opines (Video link).
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