So tomorrow while he steps back on the parquet floors of TD Garden where his old No. 20 jersey will likely be retired, it won’t simply be a happy homecoming.
He is coming back as a member of the Miami Heat, the team that has become Boston’s most recent rivals.
The story of how Allen became a member of the Heat is well known. There is the known tension between him and former Celtics teammate Rajon Rondo, the grassroots recruiting campaign by Heat fans led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and the feeling that Boston didn’t need him anymore with the emergence of Avery Bradley. What is not known is how he will be greeted by the fans of the team he helped bring back to prominence.
Will he cheered for his time spent in Celtic green or will he be booed and treated as a Benedict Arnold?
Part of the answer lies on how both teams are doing so far this season.
The Heat, while having legitimate issues on the rebounding front, are still among the best teams in the league and the top seed of the Eastern Conference. They are also among the league leaders in three-point percentage, a factor Allen directly contributes in and a key reason for why Miami wanted him so badly during last offseason.
The Celtics on the other hand have been struggling as of late. Injuries and age have slowly taken a toll on the team and that has them close to missing the playoffs. The man that was supposed to be Allen’s replacement, Jason Terry, hasn’t lived up to expectations and is currently in a shooting slump.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day when Allen checks into the game. While he doesn’t know whether cheers or boos will follow that moment, Allen can be glad of one thing: At least he’s not coming back wearing a purple and gold jersey.