Ainge: 'I feel Ray left us'

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Ainge: 'I feel Ray left us'

WALTHAM As much as Saturday morning's press conference was about introducing the C's newest signings, there was no getting around the one that got away - Ray Allen.

Allen spent the past five seasons with the Celtics before becoming a free agent this summer. The veteran guard decided to sign with the Miami Heat, a team that will pay him about half of what he could have earned had he accepted the C's offer of 12 million over two years.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, on losing Allen.

"I don't feel like we lost him," Ainge said. "I feel Ray left us to go to Miami. We appreciate all that Ray has done, and all that Shannon (Allen's wife) and Ray have done in our community and we tried to get Ray back. He chose to go to Miami."

Earlier this week in Miami, the Heat held a press conference to introduce its new signings which included Allen.

During Allen's 30-minute press conference which was followed by another 15-minute session with Boston media, the bulk of the questions he received were centered around his time in Boston which included him addressing his relationship with Rajon Rondo which was reportedly a major factor in his decision to spurn the Celtics and sign with the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.

"I can't say that it factored into my decision," Allen said when asked about his relationship with Rondo. "As teammates, we were brothers. I'm around them more than I am my own family. There's differences; we all have differences. That's just part of who you are as individuals. At the end of the day, we have to buy into what the coach believes is best for us. As players, we have to put our differences aside."

Allen added, "I made a decision based on what will ultimately keep me happy. I wouldn't put it on one person."

It was clear even before free agency that the C's would have a tough time convincing Allen to return.

He had lost his starting job to Avery Bradley which came after his role seemed to have already started to diminish. When you throw in the constant trade rumors coupled with an offer from the C's that was double what the Heat offered - but several million less than the offer extended to Garnett which is what Allen was anticipating - his departure did not come as a total shock to Ainge and the Celtics.

"No one player makes a team," Ainge said. "Players choose not to come here all the time. There are 30 good basketball teams out there and it's a very competitive league. There are other teams outside of Boston. We knew Ray had this option and this opportunity. He chose to go in that direction."

And the C's have chosen to do what teams always have to do in these kind of situations - move on.

But as much as Allen and the C's will cast his decision as being one about the business of basketball, there's a sense that it became personal - maybe too personal - for both sides.

"It's always both," Ainge said. "We're dealing with humans. We're not dealing with trading cards, and this is not fantasy league basketball. It's real people, real lives, real families. It's always a consideration, absolutely."

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.