Steve Nash goes to the Los Angeles Lakers, the veteran guard is praised for making winning his career-ending priority.
Ray Allen join the Miami Heat, he is cast as Judas Shuttleworth, for turning his back on the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers find a way to land Nash from the Phoenix Suns with minimal available trade assets and Mitch Kupchak is praised for his creativity.
The Heat get Allen to come aboard at less than market value, and Pat Riley is viewed as piling on.
Perhaps, with apologies to Aaron Rodgers and Steve Novak, it is time for a bit of a discount double check.
Photos: Check out pictures from the Miami Heat NBA championship parade
Or at least a second look at how the Nash addition in Los Angeles somehow can be cast as a step forward for all parties involved, while Allen’s move south has come to be viewed as turning his back on Boston.
Foremost, Nash never was threatened with banishment by the Suns, even when it became clear a new direction was needed. By contrast, Allen had become the focus of continued trade talk in Boston.
Had Nash remained in Phoenix, the Suns would have remained his team. Had Allen remained in Boston, it had become clear that the Celtics not only have become Rajon Rondo’s team, but that Allen would have been cast as no better than second or third string at shooting guard, behind Avery Bradley and, quite possibly, Jason Terry.
To a degree, Allen had to leave, essentially had been pushed out the door by Danny Ainge’s previous trade bids, Doc Rivers’ evolving rotation. And that’s fine, too. The Celtics clearly need to evolve.
At this stage of his career, Allen can do more and mean more to the Heat than he would have for the Celtics. Other than Boston offering to double the Heat’s $ 3.1 million salary for 2012-13, from a basketball standpoint there wasn’t much reason for Allen to stay.
To a degree, Allen said it became an uncomfortable situation of his own making.
“Sometimes, you’ve got to step out and clear your path a little bit more than you would have done otherwise and just let it be known,” he said. “But I acquiesced so much to the point where, at some point, they said, ‘Well, Ray will be all right. He’ll figure himself out or he’ll get his touches. He’ll figure it out. We don’t worry about him.’
“At some point, it was to my own detriment, because I didn’t create enough wave of an ego to let them know you have to stand up and speak for yourself and be accounted for.”
Understand, until the Celtics’ breakthrough in the postseason, until Kevin Garnett opted to re-up, the plan had been to essentially rip it apart in Boston, allow Bradley and Rondo to serve as the bridge to the next incarnation. At that stage, if Allen wasn’t going to step aside, he likely would have been forced out. Instead, the Celtics created the perception that Allen should return out of loyalty.
And that’s the thing. Allen said the loyalty remains, even as the uniform changes, just as former Celtics such as Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins and James Posey have shown their Green envy.
“Forever, I’ll always be a Celtic, no matter what,” he said upon his AmericanAirlines Arena introduction. “I’ve seen Big Baby down here during the playoffs watching and I looked at him as a brother. We played against Perk during the year, it doesn’t change. Posey came in the locker room once we lost Game 7 here and he’s forever a Celtic. Eddie House played [in Miami] and he came in the locker room every time he got the opportunity. In my mind, it never changes. I don’t care what people say about me, I’ll always stay true to the city of Boston and the fans there.”
When Nash returns to Phoenix this season, it will be with an embrace. For the Boston to offer anything less to Allen would be to deny the realities that led to his departure.
IN THE LANE
FIZDALE CONTENT: Linked to the Portland Trail Blazers’ coaching vacancy, Heat assistant David Fizdale, who is guiding the Heat’s summer-league team in Las Vegas, said he has not been contacted. “It just got put out there. There’s nothing between me and Portland at all,” he said. “I’m very happy where I’m at. I want ride this as long as I can.” Fizdale was the lone member of the Heat staff added when Erik Spoelstra was named head coach in 2008. “I’m young, I’m 38, so I’m working with my best friend and I’m coaching the best team in the league right now with the best organization,” Fizdale said. “I’m not leaving that to go coach anywhere, just to go take a head coaching job and be a head coach.”
ALMOST HERE: Upon his introduction with the New York Knicks, who acquired him in a sign-and-trade transaction with the Houston Rockets, center Marcus Camby said he was sincere in his free-agency overtures with the Heat. “I was going on a plane,” Camby said of his planned visit to South Florida last weekend that was cancelled only after the Heat instead extended their taxpayer mid-level exception to Ray Allen. “Of course, with a sign-and-trade, the team that signs you and trades you wants to have different pieces in return. So I guess things didn’t work out in that aspect and I guess the Knicks put together a nice package.” The latter thought, at least from this perspective, remains debatable, considering the Knicks yielded Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan and 2014 and 2015 second-round picks in the transaction. More than anything, what it says is the Heat were willing to part with neither the lottery-protected 2013 first-round pick they obtained from the Philadelphia 76ers at last month’s NBA Draft or 2011-12 rookie point guard Norris Cole.
OLD AND OLDER: No sooner did the Knicks add 38-year-old Camby and 39-year-old Jason Kidd, then coach Mike Woodson was asked whether his team was competing for a senior-league title. That’s when he chose to point at the direction Pat Riley has taken the Heat. “You can say that about Miami. You can say that about Boston,” Woodson said. “I haven’t seen a young team win an NBA title in the last 15 years. That’s why the Miami Heat are loading up with veteran guys like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to continue their run. That’s why Boston tried to hold the Big Three together. It’s veteran guys who are winning NBA titles.”
NAILING IT: The legend of Dwyane Wade’s piggies lives on, courtesy of a GQ interview with Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, who was asked about Wade, indeed, painting his toenails black in the offseason. “Matter of fact, he just did it yesterday,” Chalmers told the magazine’s website. “We were texting and he told me he was painting his toenails. He does it every summer. I don’t know why.” Chalmers said it never gets too public, with Wade wearing socks when out in the summer in flip-flops. “That’s D-Wade for you,” Chalmers said.
SUMMER STORY: Although not on the Chicago Bulls’ summer-league roster, former Heat second-round draft pick Patrick Beverley, the EuroLeague defensive stopper, is working out with the Bulls. While Beverley never played a regular-season game for the Heat, he did manage to cash in on two seasons of guaranteed salary from the Heat after impressive offseason workouts with the team.
SUMMER STORIES: Among familiar Heat faces participating in NBA summer leagues are former Heat guard Blake Ahearn with the Utah Jazz, former Florida State center Solomon Alabi with the Denver Nuggets, Heat 2011 training-camp prospect Derrick Byars with the San Antonio Spurs, former University of Florida guard Taurean Green with the Brooklyn Nets, former Heat forward Stephane Lasme with the Celtics, former Heat forward Shavlik Randolph with the Washington Wizards and former University of Florida guard Erving Walker with the Phoenix Suns.
3. Heat players to previously wear No. 34, which Ray Allen will return to this season: Eddy Curry, Willie Burton and Sam Mitchell. Allen had worn No. 20 with the Celtics, which previously had been worn with the Heat by Gary Payton, Kirk Penney, Pete Myers, Brian Shaw and Jon Sundvold.
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