Ray Allen has had some pretty choice words about the Boston Celtics since defecting to the Miami Heat this offseason, and that could backfire on him and his new team.
And then, the 2012 offseason rolled around, and opinions on Ray would change.
Allen turned down an opportunity to return to (and likely retire with) the Celtics, choosing instead to end his career with Boston's biggest rival of the past two seasons -- the Miami Heat.
It wasn't so much that Allen left that rubbed people the wrong way, although there are some who are more than happy to call him a traitor and a bum. Rather, it was his explanation for leaving that bothered some, myself included.
Allen wasn't known for creating controversy in Boston, or Seattle or Milwaukee for that matter, but ever since he joined the "new Big Three" in Miami, he hasn't exactly had pleasant things to say about his former team up north.
First, there was the reported rift between Allen and Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo, and possibly Doc Rivers, that supposedly played a role in Allen's departure in the first place. Then, we had Allen blaming the Celtics' front office for forcing the move, insinuating that Miami's deal was just a better one (for the record, Allen signed a two year deal with the Heat worth $6 million, spurning the Celtics' offer of two years for $12 million -- in case you're wondering, that's double the money -- and Ray has the same role down in Miami coming off the bench as he would have in Boston).
Finally, we have Allen saying something that we all knew before he left -- he didn't like coming off the bench. More specifically, Allen said that the Celtics told him he would be used off the bench and made note of the fact that they were going to use him as a decoy. Allen said he was just "standing over in the corner" doing nothing for the majority of games.
Well, a quick look at his stat page on Basketball Reference will dispel that notion (although he was used as a decoy at times). Allen scored 5,987 points in five seasons with Boston and averaged no fewer than 14.2 points per game, and that was in his final season with the team when he only played in 46 games. Yes, Allen was used as a decoy at times, but it really isn't like he wasn't being used at all as he seemed to suggest.
How do you think the Celtics feel about Ray's comments? Well, you likely won't see any of Allen's former teammates publicly rip into him, but you'd have to image that they are hurting. Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett will tell you that they haven't heard any comments, but in this day and age, there's no way they can avoid all of them.
As coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday, "We're just going to let Ray keep talking."
Allen's words could be a detriment to himself and his team. Not only is he burning bridges in Boston, but he's only fanning the flame that lives inside the KG-led Celtics. This team is fueled by the naysayers, and anything you say against them or about them can be turned into motivation.
Boston has already established Miami as enemy No. 1 this season. Allen's decision to join the enemy, and his questionable comments ever since, will do nothing but motivate an already motivated Celtics team.
Be careful, Ray. You aren't doing yourself, or your new club, any favors.
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Editor of SB Nation Boston. Twitter: @GethinCoolbaugh