Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is LeBron Right About the Celtics Double Standard?

Recently, LeBron James opened up about a possible double standard by former Boston Celtics Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.  A quick recap:

-After Ray Allen stunned the Celtics by signing with rival Miami during the 2012 offseason (he was a free agent), Garnett, Pierce and Rivers (who were currently Celtics) slammed Allen in different ways about his loyalty to them and/or his destination.

-Ray Allen hit a monumental three point shot in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to save the season for Miami.  The Heat would go on to win Game 7 and the NBA Championship.

-After rumblings of a possible retirement, Doc Rivers ... however it went down ... was traded out of Boston to the up and coming LA Clippers.

-Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were traded to the up and coming Brooklyn Nets.

Now LeBron is asking why it was wrong for Allen to leave via free agency to Miami, but it was fine for Rivers to, outsiders looking in, weasel his way to the Clippers while KG and Pierce get run out to pasture in nearby BK.  It is a valid question, though I'm not really sure which side I'm on.

To be honest, I don't agree with that whole Celtics whining last year.  Ray Allen was a free agent and was free to sign anywhere he wanted.  I get that it's tough to see him leave for Miami, who beat the C's in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals (remember that Boston had Miami on the brink of elimination in that series).  I get that it could be viewed as a slap in the face that he took less money and a smaller role in Miami.  However, Allen was chasing a title and felt he had a better shot in Miami.  All things being equal, wouldn't you view it the same way?

KG, Doc and The Truth can be pissed all they want.  But Allen wasn't wrong.  I can't agree with that logic.

On the other side, what about what LeBron said?  Technically, those three Celtics (among others) were traded by Boston to their new destinations.  Sure, this wasn't one of those instances where those guys were upset where they were sent.  All three basically helped facilitate their trades by open discussions.  I'm sure that those three would've been cool to take one last shot together with the Celtics, but Boston was ready to blow it all up and start their rebuilding process.

While I will agree with LeBron that it does look a bit hypocritical ... and it certainly makes their comments look childish ... I cannot put their leaving Boston in the same terms.  The organization wanted that "Big Three Era" over so they could bottom out, get some draft picks and get a high selection in a should-be loaded 2014 NBA Draft class.  Garnett and Pierce were teetering on retirement but took that opening to latch on with a talented team that is a contender.  Rivers, instead, was a bit slimier by being under contract with the Celtics and then working his way out to the Clippers.

All I know is that next time any professional athlete opens his mouth about loyalty, they realize what time they live in and how loyalty often works.  Today, Peyton Manning will be going into Indianapolis to face the Colts for the first time ever.  If anyone today could say they were merged with a franchise, Manning and Indy would be it.  Instead, business happens.

Business as usual.

No comments: