On Wednesday before the Heat played the new-look Brookyn Nets for the first time with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Brooklyn Thursday night, two of the Miami Heat's stars, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, took issue with how the former Celtics treated Ray Allen when he left to join the Heat in 2012.
"I think the first thing I thought was, 'Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,'" James said. "I think it's OK; I didn't mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they're leaving.
"That's the nature of our business, man. I don't know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc, KG and Paul did that as well. You can't criticize someone who does something that's best for their family."
"We all know the world, how it works," Wade said. "The biggest thing is Ray is happy [in Miami]. If they're happy in Brooklyn, then let them be happy.
"People say things about people when they do something when they themselves would do the same thing. It's about putting yourself in the best situation, and at the end of the day, we all do that. You can't really say anything about someone that does it for themselves."
"Shots fired," as the kids say.
Garnett told reporters last year that he "cut ties" with Allen when he joined the Heat in free agency. When Allen checked into his first game against Miami, Garnett ignored him. Allen brushed it off, saying it was a shame, but didn't seem too broken up.
You have to admit they've got point here. All they talked about was loyalty, and Garnett constantly talked about "bleeding green," and yet once the rats appeared to be bailing on the good ship Celtic, he and Pierce sailed off to Brooklyn, leaving Rajon Rondo alone to go down to the sea. And that's fine. You've got to look out for your career. But to blast Allen as publicly as they did and then turn around and bail, to a division rival, when things got tough, is not a great look.
The answer will be that Pierce and Garnett were traded, they didn't leave as free agents. But Garnett had to approve the trade to make it work, and Pierce has admitted to lobbying him to do so. It was obviously hard for them to leave Boston, but it was probably also hard for Allen to do the same.
Garnett avoided any heat about it, though, the same way he avoided heat on it in 2008 when he joined the Celtic. When Garnett leaves a team whose fans have formed an emotional connection with him, he's a reluctant hero being forced to save himself. When anyone else does, they're traitors.
This probably isn't going to help relations between the two camps who already share a lot of bad blood, though. And it should make the Nets-Heat games this season even more entertaining.