Unnecessary shots fired.
Leading up to the Miami Heat‘s Thursday night preseason matchup with the newly strung Brooklyn Nets, LeBron James made a not-so-little dig at Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for being upset at Ray Allen for leaving the Boston Celtics in 2012.
“The first thing that I thought was like, ‘Wow, Ray [Allen] got killed for leaving Boston and now these guys are leaving Boston,” said James on Wednesday. “I think it’s OK. I don’t mind it, but there was a couple guys that basically [criticized] Ray for leaving and everybody else is leaving.”
Teammate Chris Bosh decided to follow James’ lead not long before the game on Thursday.
“People can sometimes speak too soon and then they’re in the same situation,” said Bosh. “I always try to empathize with other people, put myself in their shoes, and not criticize or judge too much because the same thing might happen and then now what?
“Now everyone’s acting like they don’t remember and it just happened a year ago. So we don’t pay too much attention to it. We know how things are and if people are critical then you just turn the other cheek and keep it moving.”
James and Bosh may be trying to stick up for their teammate, but let’s look at the facts.
Garnett and Allen joined Pierce in Boston in 2007 and all won their first championship together the following June.
Allen signed with Miami, Boston’s newly hated rival, shortly after the Heat prevented the same three Celtics from making their third Finals appearance since 2008 following a seven game Eastern Conference finals in 2012.
Those are the facts.
So of course Pierce and Garnett were going to be miffed. They had every right to be. Did anyone expect them to throw a party for Allen after he left them for the enemy that just won a championship, especially when they were just one win away from getting back to the Finals?
The Celtics weren’t anywhere near as intimidating last season, and the front office made it clear they wanted to hit the reset button once confirmation of a proposed Doc Rivers deal flew about. Pierce and Garnett, coming toward the end of their careers, wanted one last opportunity to win it all, so they were all for a deal that would send them to Brooklyn.
Could anyone blame them for that?
These situations really weren’t as similar as James and Bosh made them out to be. Allen dumped Pierce and Garnett for a more attractive landing spot after all the wars they had been through. That was his decision.
Pierce and Garnett also had a say in their move to Brooklyn, but after Celtics’ management made it clear that they wanted to rebuild, they were really left with no decision. They have nothing to feel bad about.