|Ainge: Tony Allen leaving ‘not a financial decision’||07.14.10 at 10:10 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had plenty to talk about on Wednesday as he introduced center Jermaine O’Neal to the Boston media, but perhaps the most the most interesting topic touched on was swingman Tony Allen‘s defection to the Memphis Grizzlies for a three-year deal worth a reported $9.7 million.
In discussing the situation with reporters, Ainge indicated that the Celtics had hoped to bring Allen, one of their three 2004 first-round draft choices, back. He said that money was not a driving factor in Allen’s decision to leave.
“Things did work out for Tony, we had a good six years with Tony,” Ainge said when asked what didn’t work out in negotiations. “We wanted Tony back and we tried to get him. It wasn’t a financial decision, there were other decisions, so I think that’s a question you’ll have to ask Tony.”
In his six seasons with the Celtics, Allen averaged 7.2 points, 1.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 18.4 minutes and was a plus defender, often guarding the opposing team’s biggest offensive threat.
Asked to evaluate the offseason, Ainge likened making any comment now to saying how a game went while just at halftime. The C’s are looking to add five more players to give them a 14-man squad, but much of time in the near future will consist of waiting to see which players are still available after the big contracts are done being handed out. He also said he does not expect Rasheed Wallace to change his mind regarding retirement.
Ainge said that the Celtics still have needs at multiple positions, noting they are looking for help at center/power forward, backup point guard, as well as wings. He did say that he likes “unproven rookies” Semih Erden (a Turkish center) and Avery Bradley (the team’s first-round draft choice, a point guard), and that the team is in negotiations with Nate Robinson to hopefully continue to back up Rajon Rondo. Asked about Robinson, Ainge said he is a “guy we’re talking with, along with a slew of other free agents as well.”
Josh Howard was a name brought up in the session and Ainge did not deny the team’s interest, saying he would “rather not get into the people who we are pursuing” and that “there’s a long list of them, but he’s on that list.”
The 29th overall pick by the Mavericks in the 2003 draft, Howard has averaged 16.3 points, 1.7 assists, 6.0 rebounds in seven seasons. The small forward had spent his entire career in Dallas before being traded to the Wizards in February. He played in only four games for Washington before tearing his ACL, an injury he is still recovering from.
|Tony Allen’s mom: ‘I’m sure he hates to leave’||07.12.10 at 9:22 am ET|
After the news came out that Tony Allen would be signing a free agent deal with Memphis, Allen’s mother, Ella Allen, told the Boston Herald, “He is definitely going to miss the Celtics ‘ it’s a great team with great people. I know he is going to miss his friends. He really liked those guys. I’m sure he hates to leave.’ She also explained in the article that she believed her son would stay in Boston, adding, ‘I am very surprised, but my son makes his own decisions, and I support him 100 percent.” But she did recognize the business side of the signing when she told the Herald, “They raised him. But sometimes change is good. It’s a business, and he just had to do what he had to do.”
|T. Allen agrees to sign with Grizzlies||07.11.10 at 4:33 pm ET|
Allen, an unrestricted free agent, has spent his entire career with the Celtics since being drafted in 2004. He excelled this postseason as a defensive stopper and played a critical role in containing Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.
Allen told WEEI.com during the playoffs that he would like to return to the Celtics next season … and beyond.
‘I am a Celtic,’ he said. ‘I love being a Celtic. It’d mean everything in the world [return next season].’
He added, ‘I mean, things happen but I feel like I’m going to be a Celtic for life.’
Should Allen sign elsewhere, his departure would leave a huge gap in the Celtics second unit as the organization looks to rebuild its bench this summer.
|TA: Hard to come to grips||06.18.10 at 7:24 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — No one took Thursday night’s loss harder than Tony Allen.
He was walking out of the Celtics dressing room and took a right-hand turn before bravely making a U-turn and agreeing to meet with reporters outside. He was the first Celtic player to try and express what had just happened.
Clearly heart-broken, he tried to come to grips with losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals, 83-79, as the Celtics fell short in their bid to win title No. 18. The Lakers won their 16th by rallying in the fourth quarter, outscoring Boston, 30-22.
“Definitely a tough one to swallow,” Allen began. “What I am going to say is I love this group of guys. It’s just a really emotional time for me. Just a tough one to swallow right here.”
“I definitely want to see this group back but who knows,” Allen continued. “It’s not that surprising. We fought hard to get here it’s just a real unfortunate Game 7 for us to lose.
“I definitely want to see Doc back. I don’t know. It’s tough right now.”
With those words, Allen became choked up and was excused by the group of reporters.
|Celtics video: C’s react to loss||at 7:12 am ET|
|Tony Allen wants to re-sign with Celtics||06.15.10 at 12:06 am ET|
Tony Allen made it clear where he wants to play basketball next season.
‘I am a Celtic,’ he told WEEI.com. ‘I love being a Celtic. It’d mean everything in the world [return next season].’
Allen will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has garnered attention during the playoffs with his gritty defense against some of the league’s best perimeter scorers, most recently containing Kobe Bryant in the NBA finals.
While Allen attested that he is focused on winning a championship, not free agency — ‘I haven’t really thought about summer right now,’ he said. ‘All I’m worried about is the finals.’ — he hopes he has played his way to another contract in Boston.
Allen has spent his entire career with the Celtics. He was selected by the team with the 25th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and signed his current two-year deal (worth $2.5 million a year) following the 2008 championship season.
Even though basketball is a business and the look of a team can change in an instant, Allen can’t imagine himself wearing anything but green next season.
‘None whatsoever, none whatsoever,’ he said. ‘I mean, things happen but I feel like I’m going to be a Celtic for life.’
|TA: We need that focus for rest of series||06.11.10 at 11:34 am ET|
From the moment Tony Allen showed up at the Garden on Thursday he could sense the urgency. From captain Paul Pierce to Kevin Garnett to everyone on what turned out to be a great bench, the task was at hand was very, very clear.
Win or else.
Now, with the 96-89 win over the Lakers in Game 4 in the bank and the NBA finals tied, 2-2, Allen wants to see that urgency for the remainder of the series. And if he does, he thinks the Celtics could very well be hoisting he Larry O’Brien trophy when it’s awarded next week at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Earlier at shootaround it felt like a must-win game,” Allen said. “I was looking at everybody’s focus, guys were in there early, getting shots up, in getting treatment. Guys were pretty much focused. I like that side of those guys. We’re going to definitely need them to be focused for the rest of the series.”
Of course, leading the way in providing focus is captain Paul Pierce. He was the last remaining member of the ‘Big Three’ not to have a big game in the series so far. People were wondering if the Celtics stood a chance if he didn’t get his motor started in Game 4.
Pierce scored a team-high 19 points but it was the leadership he showed early in the game that impressed Allen. And Allen sensed Pierce was going to have something special in store well before tip-off.
“I think he had that vision in his mind,” Allen said. “He just came out and said, ‘I’m going to be Paul Pierce today no matter what the defense tries to do.’ He got the name ‘The Truth’ for being the truth. He definitely was big.
“He’s ‘The Truth.’ We’re definitely going to need him for the rest of the series. We’re going to need him to be The Truth for these three games. I’m glad he got it going and it showed why we won.”
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