Kevin Garnett was not shy about expressing his displeasure with Ray Allen when Allen chose to sign with the Miami Heat over the Boston Celtics last year. Allen pursued what he felt was the best situation for his family and best chance to win, and he ended up looking pretty wise when the Heat won their second straight NBA title.
When Allen first left, KG said that he lost Allen’s phone number and hadn’t spoken to his teammate. Then when Ray checked into his first game as a member of the Heat against the Celtics, Garnett refused to give him the time of day. Now that both Garnett and Paul Pierce have accepted a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade think they’re hypocrites for being so hard on Allen.
“I think the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,’” LeBron told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. “I think it’s OK; I didn’t mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving.
“That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc, KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.”
“People say things about people when they do something when they themselves would do the same thing,” he said. “It’s about putting yourself in the best situation, and at the end of the day, we all do that. You can’t really say anything about someone that does it for themselves.”
LeBron certainly knows all about leaving for a better situation, as this urinal cake reminded us. The difference — in Garnett’s mind at least — was that Boston still had a chance to make a title run with Allen last season. They nearly beat the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals the year before, so KG and Pierce were hoping Allen would join them for one final go at it. This year, Boston had virtually no chance of winning with or without the remaining pieces of The Big Three.
There is something to be said for loyalty, but there’s also a reason contracts expire. If players want to play elsewhere, that’s their prerogative. Not every change of scenery has to be viewed as betrayal.