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.
I'm going to stick to my assessment of Tony Allen in Memphis vs. Tony Allen in Boston. Part of the reason he's working in Memphis is he's playing a different role. He's actually a team leader, he's a bigger part of the entire team, and he's playing more minutes. In short… TA feels more comfortable in Memphis.
"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."
Exactly. In Boston, he would have played a much lesser role. He'd still have to defer to most of the roster. Would he have helped some? Yes, of course, because he's young and athletic and he could get out there and run a little. But I've seen too much of Tony Allen in Boston to bet on him being any sort of savior. I know "Bad" Tony Allen all too well. We saw a lot more of him than the "Good" Tony Allen around here. I'm not going to go all revisionist-history on everyone and pretend that Bad TA wouldn't have made plenty of appearances if Danny brought him back.
I wish there was a way to find out what he would have done here… because I'll guarantee you Danny would be taking plenty of heat for bringing him back as well.
Related links: Jermaine O'Neal needs wrist surgery
Associated Press photo
On Page 2: One big effect of Doc's return to Boston
Since the advent of the Big Three, the Celtics haven’t had salary-cap space to attract premium players. But after next season when Garnett, Allen, and Jermaine O’Neal — who will make a combined $37 million in 2011-12 — come off the books, the Celtics will have an opportunity to pursue their first major free agent in a generation.
Rivers will be waiting on that tour stop with his winning smile, recruiter’s pitch, and secure status. And that may be the biggest selling point of all.
The rebuilding of the Celtics in the post-Big Three era won’t be easy, but Ainge’s job just became more manageable and the possibility of the playoff-caliber Celtics without Pierce, Allen, and Garnett just became more feasible.
And two days after the Celtics’ disheartening elimination by the Miami Heat, the road back to prominence just became smoother.
Boston's reputation is what it is. I'll fight tooth-and-nail to defend it against the realities of the past… but some people just won't listen.
So if Black players who hear "Boston" and think "racism" ultimately decide to come here because Doc Rivers has 100% bought into the system, the team, and the city… then great.
I don't want to get into a big thing about race relations in Boston. That's a bigger issue for another day. I know it's still an issue for some players, though. Right or wrong, it's still an issue. I hope, though, that Gary Washburn is right. I hope players look at this situation and say "oh, that's just some BS people are talking… I love Doc so I'm gonna play for him."
I don't think that's what Danny had in mind when he signed Doc. I think Doc's a great coach who deserves the deal he got on that alone. This other stuff… an interesting and welcome side effect.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Jermaine O'Neal hides fractured wrist | Could Perce really come off the bench next year | Austin Ainge back in C's front office | Ainge: Shaq will probably retire | Globe: Jermaine needs surgery | ESPN Boston: PTI on Doc, Pierce | A. Ainge named director of player personnel | Ainge sees bright future for Green | WEEI: Examining the Celtics roster for 2011-12 | Cutting Big 3's minutes to win it | Austin Ainge rejoins C's front office | Herald: Ainge: We're better than we played