Jackie MacMullan wrote a fine story today about the Celtics wobbly offseason. In the piece, Ray Allen made some interesting comments about David West's decision to sign with Indy. I just wanted to offer my rebuttal to Ray Allen's line of thinking. This is really nothing more than a I-need-to-get-it-off-my-chest moment. You're more than welcome to check it out after jump...
Allen first heard of West's potential interest in Boston last month when Allen was playing golf in Augusta with his private banker, who coincidentally also handled West's financial affairs.
"He told me how much I would love [West], that he and I were the same kind of guy -- cognitive thinkers," Allen said. "He said West was interested in coming to the Celtics and would be willing to come for less."
West was interested in coming to the Celtics? You're right, Ray. But West also had known interest in Indy, and I'm guessing he had interest in other teams in need of a big man, and/or teams with cap space. Bottom line was that Boston wasn't his only option, and his other options probably didn't require a complicated sign-and-trade deal to get him there. Oh, and West was going to take less money to play in Boston? Again, you're probably right, Ray, but we need some context. For example, maybe West was aiming for 12-mil-per in free agency, and "less" to him meant 10-mil-per instead. If that was the context, then your team's deal wasn't going to get it done. Less doesn't always mean a guy is going to take the league minimum to play with a Big Three.
So why does Allen think West had a change of heart?
"Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in," Allen said. "He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to 'What is a championship worth to you?'
This is what I disdain about the Big-Three mentality developing among NBA players. It's all about them. If someone doesn't make a decision that coincides with their needs and wants, then that guy is all about "ego," or he doesn't care about championships. Maybe his decision was about cash, Ray, I don't know. But let's consider some other options, like, maybe he understood Boston's Big Three is on a sure path of aging and deterioration. Maybe he understood that the East is becoming Miami's and Chicago's conference, and that Indy's future prospects of competing with the Big Boy's are just as good as the prospects of a crumbling threesome who certainly did not the look the part of "contender" against the Heat last season in the playoffs. Maybe he considered that the Celtics--in a condensed season, and without any major roster upgrades--are no better, and likely even worse than its teams that haven't won a championship since 2008. In other words, Going to Boston does not automatically equal a championship, despite the hyperbole, and West has every right to come to that logical conclusion.
"Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We're still taking less to make it work. But it's worth it. No one can ever say to KG, Paul or me, 'You guys never got your ring.'"
Again, the Big-Three mentality rears its conceited head. I'm assuming, Ray, since you brought up $20 million that when you say your Big Three gave up less to win, you're talking about cash. Again, you're right, you guys did give up less, but, of course, context is completely ignored. How much easier it must be to "take less" when you've already had your $100 million dollar contract. When you've already had a chance to be the Alpha dog on a team. West hasn't been and never will be a 20-million-dollar guy. He's spent the vast majority of his career being underpaid and likely underappreciated, so, if anyone deserves to make a financial decision over an appealing, yet no-guaranteed-championship decision, it's probably him. And, of course, no one can take yours, KG's, and Pierce's ring away, but guess what? If West wins a championship in Indy (extremely unlikely, I admit), then not only can no one take his ring away, but no one could say he needed to gang up with other superior players to accomplish such a feat.
Sorry if this post had a "petty" feel to it, but for whatever reason, Allen's comments got my blood going, and my Blue-and-Gold-Protective Meter hit over drive. I'm extremely excited West decided to come to Indy, and I hope his unpopular decision pays off in a way that other athletes take notice that big markets, and playing with your superstar pals isn't the only path to basketball success.