Celtics

Ainge regrets not re-signing Allen

191544.jpg

Ainge regrets not re-signing Allen

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM When Danny Ainge makes a personnel decision, it's rare that even with hindsight, he looks back on it with regret.

But the decision to not pursue re-signing Tony Allen with more vigor last summer was one that Ainge admits he wouldn't mind a do-over on, if possible.

At the time, Ainge had originally offered Allen a shorter-term deal than the three-year, 9.7 million contract he agreed to with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The perception has been that the Celtics didn't step up financially to bring Allen back.

"We offered Tony the same deal he ended up getting in Memphis," Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, said on Friday.

However, that offer did not come until after the Grizzlies' offer.

Ainge's initial offer was for fewer years than Allen was willing to accept.

By the time Boston stepped up and matched the Grizzlies' offer, Allen began to think more about the opportunity to start fresh in Memphis as opposed to coming back to the Celtics and remaining a backup to Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

Ainge recognizes that Allen may still be a Celtic had he made his final offer initially, "but we were trying to maintain our (salary cap) flexibility," he said.

Kevin Garnett, who will make 21.25 million this upcoming season, and Ray Allen who is expected to pick up his option for this upcoming season that will pay him 10 million, are both coming off the Celtics books prior to the summer of 2012.

The Celtics didn't want to re-sign Tony Allen to a contract that went beyond two seasons.

"It wasn't about money, it was about years and flexibility," Ainge said. "We wanted to keep a lot of cap flexibility and that was the issue."

Since leaving Boston for Memphis, Tony Allen has distinguished himself as one of the league's premier defenders which is evident by him being named to the NBA's All-Defensive second team this season.

One of the main pitches the Grizzlies made to woo Allen was an opportunity to establish a name for himself instead of remaining in the shadow of Allen and Pierce.

In Memphis, Tony Allen has become more of a leader both on and off the court and was instrumental in the eighth-seeded Grizzlies upsetting top-seeded San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs.

After Friday's 95-83 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder (they prominently feature another cast aside former Celtic, Kendrick Perkins), Allen and the Grizzlies are now one win away from a trip to the Western Conference finals.

"I'm more vocal," Allen said of his leadership role with Memphis. "As if I was Kevin (Garnett) or Paul (Pierce). They were the most vocal guys (in Boston). I kind of just looked at what they were doing. They were the realist. If something was going wrong in a game, they'd speak on it and they don't let it get out of hand. That's pretty much what I do with our guys."

Said Ainge: "I don't think Tony always liked his role here in Boston. I don't think we understand how hard it is playing behind Ray and Paul, because they're so good."

If Boston had offered three years initially, Ainge believes there's a good chance that Allen would be a Celtic now.

That still may not have been enough for the Celtics' season to be alive right now.

"I don't think he's a savior for a team," said Ainge, who added, "I think he's a good player."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat live stream: Watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat live stream: Watch NBA game online

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will clash at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday night in a matchup of Eastern Conference powers.

These are two of the five teams jockeying for playoff position from the No. 2 seed down to the No. 6 seed. The five teams in this range of the East standings are separated by only 2.5 games. The Heat are in a second-place tie with the Toronto Raptors at 32-14, while the C's are in fourth place at 30-15.

The Celtics don't have a signature road win this season, and Tuesday's game against the Heat is a great place to earn their first. It won't be easy, though. Miami is one of the league's best home teams with a 21-2 record on its own court. The Heat also have the second-best 3-point shooting percentage in basketball, so the C's will need to defend the perimeter at a high level to leave South Beach with a victory. 

Another factor going against the Celtics is injuries. Veteran center Enes Kanter already has been ruled out and star forward Jayson Tatum is doubtful to play. 

The Celtics lead the season series 1-0 after a 112-93 win in Boston last month.

Here's how to watch NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics vs. Heat, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

HOW TO WATCH

Listen and subscribe to our Celtics Talk Podcast>>>

ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 7 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Tommy Heinsohn, Brian Scalabrine, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

DURING THE GAME, FOLLOW US 

@NBCSBOSTON

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

ON TWITTER

Forsberg: Kobe's impact on Tatum hard to quantify

That 617 Life Podcast: Honoring Kobe Bryant and his impact on the NBA

617-life-pic.png
NBC Sports Boston photo

That 617 Life Podcast: Honoring Kobe Bryant and his impact on the NBA

The death of Kobe Bryant stunned the sports world on Sunday and sparked a plethora of reactions and tributes to the Los Angeles Lakers legend around in the NBA.

It didn't matter whether you were a Lakers fan, a Boston Celtics fan, or a fan of any of the other 28 teams in the league. Regardless of whether you loved Bryant or hated him for being the villain against your favorite team, you had to respect him.

On the latest edition of the "That 617 Life" podcast, noted diehard Celtics fans Leroy Irvin, Shanda Foster and Cerrone Battle explained how their respect for Bryant went far beyond the C's rivalry with the Lakers.

Irvin discussed how he and Celtics fans everywhere had to dislike Bryant throughout his 20-year NBA career, but everyone in Boston had the utmost respect for him as a player.

Deep down inside, we respected him. Just on the surface, we didn't acknowledge it. We didn't want to acknowledge it. But deep down inside, we knew what he meant to the game. And that hurt a lot.

Bryant was 41 years old, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna also was involved in the helicopter crash along with seven other victims.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Foster lamented the tragic loss of a legendary figure, his daughter, and seven others who were taken far too soon.

At the end of the day, he's a legend. And no one ever wants to see a legend gone before their time. It's always tragic. It's always traumatic, but when it's way before their time it's more tragic. And I'm not even adding into the fact his daughter was there and, you know, the additional victims of this.

Battle added to Foster's takeaway, noting how the Bryant family's tragedy hits close to home.

I think part of the emotion was, dude, he was the same age as me and you. He was 41 with four kids. I'm soon to be 41 with four kids and a wife.

Forsberg: Kobe's impact on Tatum hard to quantify

There's more Kobe Bryant discussion where that came from in this week's episode of "That 617 Life" podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. Click here to listen and subscribe.