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NBA PM: Did Rondo, Allen have strained relationship?
Posted By Alex Raskin On June 11, 2012 @ 5:44 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Did Celtics guards Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen have a strained relationship, and will this prevent Allen from re-signing in Boston?
In an interview on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” show, Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix said that there is a rift between the two.
“I think there’s no question that the relationship was strained over this year,” Mannix said, as quoted by Jerry Spar of WEEI.com. “How strained is the key, and it’s still a little bit unclear. There was some friction between those two. I think that could play a role in Ray’s decision not to come back. Now, I agree, I think that Boston probably wasn’t going to bring him back anyway, you’re right, it’s Avery Bradley’s job and Ray isn’t coming back to the Celtics to be a bench player, especially when he can be a bench player on a team that might be more likely to win a championship. But I think the relationship over the last year between Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo soured. Now, I’m not entirely clear as to how bad it got. But certainly I know that there was some legitimate, palpable friction between those two players and I think that will ultimately affect his decision in free agency.”
Both Allen and Rondo are known as intense, no-nonsense players, but sometimes guys like that can step on each other’s toes. Rondo’s best friend on the Celtics was Kendrick Perkins, who the team traded away for Jeff Green last season, and that may have taken away a voice of support in the locker room.
Obviously trade rumors have surrounded Rondo over the last few seasons, but the 26-year-old point guard is under contract while Allen and Kevin Garnett are set to hit free agency.
The Celtics starting lineup could look significantly different next season. Assuming Bradley starts at shooting guard, he and Rondo could be joined by the soon-to-be free agent Green—who missed the season following heart surgery but plans on returning to the NBA—and possibly new players at power forward and center as well. Paul Pierce is still under contract, but if Garnett decides to retire or sign elsewhere, the team might look into trading the lifelong Celtic.
However, Mannix doesn’t believe Garnett would leave if he decides to keep playing.
“I think if Kevin Garnett wants to keep playing basketball, he will stay in Boston,” Mannix said. “I think he’s a loyal guy. Remember, he didn’t really want to get traded out of Minnesota in the first place. He doesn’t like to be a guy who’s a mercenary, who wants to bounce around to different organizations and just chase rings like some other players in his age bracket. I think he wants to stay with one organization.”
Mannix did cite the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Miami HEAT as possible destinations for Allen, who he says is in demand. Allen fought through ankle issues at the end of this season, but has been remarkably durable throughout his NBA career.
Allen will have surgery on his ankle this Wednesday to remove bone spurs, according to a report by the Boston Herald.
Assuming Allen does heal properly, the Bulls seem like a good destination for the future Hall of Famer. Allen is well acquainted with coach Tom Thibodeau, who previously was an assistant in Boston, and Chicago made only 6.3 3-pointers per game last season—17th in the NBA.
Heisley finds a buyer for Grizzlies
It looks like the Memphis Grizzlies will avoid relocating for the second time in 11 years.
According to a report by Marc Stein of ESPN.com (a report which Heisley and the team have since confirmed), longtime owner Michael Heisley has finally found a buyer in Ubiquiti Networks founder and CEO Robert Pera.
The price is reportedly around $350 million and it’s expected that an announcement will be made soon, which would move the matter to the NBA Board of Governors, who would have to approve the sale before anything can be finalized.
Heisley has been trying to sell the team since 2006, but rumors began to heat up recently when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison entered the picture. Ellison supposedly had interest in moving the franchise to San Jose, a city that’s hopes of acquiring an NBA team has been buoyed by Silicon Valley dollars.
Pera, 34, is a part of that ilk as well, having graduated from Apple’s hardware engineering department to start Ubiquiti, which is multinational company that makes wireless devices.
Pera was on Forbes’ list of the 10 youngest billionaires, but he has since fallen on “hard” times, and is now worth just an estimated $980 million, according to Edwin Durgy of Forbes.com.
Apparently Pera’s willingness to leave the team in Memphis ultimately made him the preferred buyer over Ellison as Heisley has publically stated that he didn’t want the Grizzlies to be moved.
As Bill Ingram mentioned in the NBA@2, the team might have to consider trading star forward Rudy Gay, but that apparently will be Pera’s problem, pending the sale of the team, and not Heisley’s.
Officials to Wear “57” in support of Greg Willard
NBA officials will be wearing a No. “57” patch during the NBA Finals in support of veteran referee Greg Willard, who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Willard has been in the league for 24 seasons and has officiated over 1,500 regular season games and 120 playoff games. He also served as an official during the previous two Finals.
“Greg’s professionalism and integrity have made him a role model within the NBA community,” said NBRA General Counsel Lee Seham in a statement. “We want him and his family to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
NBA Finals promo set to air
The NBA has put together its 2012 NBA Finals promo, which is set to air at 9 p.m. EST on ABC Tuesday night. The song “Climax” comes from Usher.
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