On Tuesday night, Ray Allen  returned to TD Garden for the first time since the trade deadline.
He didn’t expect to be anywhere else.
‘I had my whole West Coast bag packed already, so it was going on the plane to Sacramento on that Monday morning [for the Celtics  four-game road trip]. So I wasn’t thinking about anything anyways,’ he said prior to the Celtics-Knicks game. ‘I think there was more made up than honestly I knew because people were tweeting me, hoping I stayed here. But it wasn’t a question for me whether or not I thought I was going anywhere.’
Allen repeatedly vocalized his desire to retire as a Celtic. There was no questioning his interest in finishing his career in green.
However, an expiring contract combined with the Celtics’ inconsistencies had landed his name is trade rumors for weeks. Many thought Allen had played his last game as a Celtic when the C’s blew a late lead to the Magic on Feb. 7, their final home game before the deadline. And when he sat out the next game in New Orleans with back spasms, even more speculation buzzed.
But as Celtics fans waited anxiously for the trade deadline to pass last Thursday, Allen was unaware of the time frame. He actually thought the deadline was Feb. 20, not the 18th.
Besides, one deadline did not dictate his 14-year career.
‘Not that I was ever worried about it because at worst you go somewhere else and you still play. Just you start somewhere else,’ he said. ‘So that was my mindset. But I think obviously there were people that either wanted me to stay or wanted me to go, one way or the other, it didn’t make a difference. I was still going to play.’
Just as leaving the Garden before the trade deadline didn’t trigger any emotions for Allen, neither did his return. For him, it was just another game in Boston, the city he always intended to return to.
‘I never expected not to be [here],’ he said. ‘If they traded me, then I’m gone. But I was never worried about it so I never thought otherwise, like I’m going to be somewhere else. This is where I planned to be and I didn’t think about anything else.’