PA ANNOUNCER: "Ladies and gentlemen . . . I need you ALL . . . to get ON YOUR FEET, and help me welcome the NEWEST member of the MIAMI HEAT . . . "
The crowd goes wild, as strobe lights drop down from the ceiling, smoke shoots from the air vents and Jay-Z and Kanyes Lift Off blasts through the speakers.
Suddenly, Allen wearing sunglasses, cargo shorts and a Heat City, Bitch tank top emerges from behind the curtain. He turns the corner and meets Chris Bosh with an emphatic chest bump, works a new handshake with Dwyane Wade, and then seeks out LeBron for an emotional bear hug. The foursome then performs the entire dance routine from House Party.
Allen grabs the mic:
"What's up, Mi-AM-miiiiiii?! I only have two words for y'all today. And I want you to say them with me: RE! PEAT! RE! PEAT! RE! PEAT! RE! PEAT! . . ."
OK, so maybe Ray will keep things a little classier this afternoon when he's officially introduced as a member of the hated Heat . . . but that won't make it any easier to swallow.
Even if he was completely justified in leaving. Even if the Celtics are probably better offer for seeing him go. It still hurts. It's still a slap in the face. But hey, what are you going to do?
For all the questions about why Ray left, about what really pushed him over the edge, I still think it comes down to this: He lost his job. Whether it happened over time, or all at once, the Celtics found themselves in a situation they were better without Allen in the starting line up, and at that point, they had two choices.
1. Pretend it wasn't true. Bury Avery Bradley. Keep their future Hall of Famer happy.
2. Do the right thing.
Thankfully, they went with the latter, but a decision like that comes with consequences.
This is one of the dangers of how Danny Ainge and the Celtics have handled the extension of the Big 3 era. This is what happens when you're dealing with superstars at the tail end of their careers; when their bodies are giving up, but their pride and confidence are sharp as ever. Like I've said a million times, I don't think that Ray Allen is a bad person for feeling the way he did during his final days with the Celtics, but there's no question that he lost touch with reality.
And it's fair to wonder: Is this an isolated incident, or a sign of things to come?
After all, the Celtics aren't paying Jeff Green 9 million a year to sit on the bench. And even if they start Green at the four, they didn't bring Brandon Bass back to ride the pine either. So, given the changing face off this team; given the younger, more athletic direction of the NBA on the whole, might there be a few games where the Celtics are more effective with Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Green, Bass and Kevin Garnett?
Is it possible that at some point over the next two seasons, Jeff Green becomes a better fit for the Celtics than Paul Pierce?
I don't know, but I hope so. Don't you? I bet the Celtics do. Not because it would allow them treat Pierce like crap, but because it would mean that the C's are a better team. Because that's all they can afford to care about. Remember last off-season before they lost Green when Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge both publicly suggested that Pierce could come off the bench? How serious they were, we'll never know. But it was obviously on their radar.
OK, I'll stop now, because this is all speculation. I'm just saying that Ray Allen wasn't the first NBA superstar to lose his job to a younger, faster and more athletic player, and he won't be the last. It's just the way of the world. A product of getting older. One of the inevitable risks of rolling the dice with aging Hall of Famers.
The consequences of which are about to play out this afternoon in Miami.