In the 2006-07 season the Boston Celtics would finish 24-58.
That summer, their GM Danny Ainge would pull off two complete heists in one offseason. He acquired two future Hall-of-Famers in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett without giving up a piece bigger than Al Jefferson. These two, along with their current all-stars Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, would form a legendary Big 4 that would win 66 games the next season.
That same season, the Celtics revived an old rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals and beat them 4-2, winning their only championship of the Big 4 era.
The next four seasons, Boston went a combined 207-105. They did not win another championship, but never lost before the second round. Through these four seasons they also found a new rival, the Miami Heat. In the 2011-12 season they would meet the Heat in the conference finals, making it a competitive series that they would later lose in game 7.
That offseason, the Celtics would lose Ray Allen to the Miami Heat. When Allen returned to Boston to play the Celtics, the welcome was a few hundred degrees short of what a polar bear would call warm weather.
The Celtics took his departure personally. They would only have a record of 41-40 that season and lost 4-2 to the New York Knicks. On the other hand, Allen would go on to win a championship that season with the Miami Heat, hitting one of the most clutch shots in NBA history. Allen and Garnett are now retired, Pierce is on the last legs of his career, and Rondo is on the Bulls They would like to celebrate with a vacation, but even being a major part of their championship run, Allen will not be a part of their championship vacation.
“It will be a long story about that, but it is what it is,” Rondo said in an interview with The Undefeated.. “I don’t know a good analogy to put this in. It just wasn’t the greatest separation. It wasn’t the greatest thing that could’ve happened to us as a team, a bond. We were at war with those guys [Miami]. To go with the enemy, that’s unheard-of in sports. Well, it’s not so unheard of. It’s damn near common now.”
“The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn’t do anything like that. It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for? You didn’t bleed green. People think we had a messed-up relationship. It’s not the greatest. But it’s not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got [without Allen].”
It isn’t clear which particular vets didn’t want to include Allen in their vacation plans, but one can assume that Garnett was one of them. It would be interesting to see which vets would want Allen to be a part of the celebration, as both Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Leon Powe have said they think Allen should be there and would love to have him. These two Celtics aren’t the only ones who feel this way as according to Jay King, Royal Caribbean has even offered the Celtics a free cruise if every member of the 08 Celtics, including Allen, is invited. However, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo are some of the biggest trash-talkers and most fierce competitors in NBA history. In addition to Allen’s departure not being a smooth one, it’s unlikely that this conflict will be patched up soon enough to enjoy a Celtics cruise.