Ainge says ‘lots of things’ led to departure of Allen
WALTHAM — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Saturday an “accumulation of lots of things” led to the departure of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat.
“I don’t feel like we lost Ray, I feel like Ray left us to go to Miami,” Ainge said. “We appreciate all that Ray’s done, all that him and [wife] Shannon have done in our community. We tried to get Ray back, he chose to go to Miami.
“No one player makes a team, and players choose not to come here all the time. So, there’s 30 good basketball teams out there and it’s a very competitive league and there’s other teams outside of Boston. And we knew Ray had this option and this opportunity and he chose to go that direction.”
Asked about Allen’s contention that the Celtics did not recruit him as strongly as Miami, Ainge replied, “You’ll have to ask Ray. I’ve talked with Ray a lot over the last five years. I’m a fan of Ray and, like I said, I’m grateful for what he’s done. He’ll always be a part of that 2008 championship and the success we’ve had since then, as well. But I have a feeling that it wasn’t one thing. I think it was an accumulation of lots of things, including the lure of Miami. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
Ainge said he was “not surprised” by Allen’s decision.
“I will say that I was hoping that he would make another decision,” Ainge said. “But I was not surprised.”
Ainge also confirmed the signing of Kevin Garnett.
“We’ve known it for a couple weeks,” Ainge said. “That was a priority for us. He’s such a big part of who we are, and we think he has a lot of basketball left in him.”
The Celtics have added front-court depth with the drafting of Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, plus the return of Chris Wilcox.
“I felt like we did last year, too,” Ainge said of having front-court depth. “And we had the injuries and sort of some unexpected things happen, which put a heavy load on Kevin last year. He handled that load pretty well. So, yeah, we always hope we have more depth to alleviate the burden on any one particular player.”
The Celtics lost Wilcox and Jeff Green, who both underwent heart procedures during the season. Green and free agent Jason Terry attended Saturday’s news conference but have not finalized contracts.
“Things are moving forward,” Ainge said. “I’ll just say I won’t give any more information on contract negotiations.
“[Offseason signings] have been a longer process than I’d like. But our results to this stage, our hopes in the weeks to come, I’m satisfied. We’ll be a very competitive team and we’ll be a deep team this year.”
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.