Ray Allen turns his back on Boston and the Big Three

Ray Allen joins one “super team” for another.

The issues chasing Ray Allen out of the Boston Celtics and into the arms of their most despised opponent stacked higher and higher, and suddenly everything crystallized in the hours basketball’s most persuasive recruiter, Pat Riley, captivated him. The emperor of the Miami Heat sold Allen on never hearing his name in trade talks and a run of championships awaiting him. After all these years, Allen needed to feel wanted again, needed the recruiting, and Riles had such a willing soul sitting with him in the breeze blowing over Biscayne Bay.

“He felt he was getting respect that he hadn’t gotten from [Celtics president] Danny [Ainge] and [coach] Doc [Rivers] anymore,” a source close to him said Friday night. “…The presentation was incredible.”

Respect comes in different ways, but make no mistake: The Celtics had offered two years and $12 million – respect for someone’s who’s 37 and coming off ankle surgery – and it didn’t matter to Allen. He hated the way Ainge dangled him in trade talks, hated that the Celtics told him he was on his way to Memphis in a deal at the March deadline only to have Rivers later tell him the trade was dead. Allen hated that Rivers didn’t give him his starting job back after he returned from a late-season ankle injury, and hated that it always felt like he was the Celtics star made to sacrifice above the rest.

Adrian Wojnarowski goes on to detail Allen difficult relationship with Rajon Rondo and how that must have contributed to this decision as well.

Boston fans will be livid, and it will be interesting to see how this drama affects Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Allen fits in well with what Miami is doing, assuming Lebron continues to play in the paint like he finally decided to do last season.

Meanwhile, I wonder whether Boston will miss him much. Allen could alter a game, but he did so much less frequently over the past couple of seasons. Jason Terry might be a better fit with this Boston team that may have improved considerably with the additions of Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in the draft.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Dwight Howard drama leads NBA free agency

I’m guessing most people are sick of hearing about Dwight Howard and the drama he creates. Fans of the Orlando Magic have to be totally disgusted at this point, but this is the modern NBA.

There are plenty of stories of teams like the Lakers and the Rockets going after Howard, but he tells Yahoo! Sports that he’ll only sign an extension with one team.

Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard told Yahoo! Sports he will not re-sign with a team outside his preferred list that trades for him, and emphatically denied that he ever used the term “blackmail” to describe how Magic officials convinced him to waive his early termination option.

As the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and other teams prepare possible trade offers for him, Howard told Yahoo! by phone that, “There’s only one team on my list and if I don’t get traded there, I’ll play the season out and explore my free agency after that.”

Howard wouldn’t specify the team, but multiple league sources believe that it is the Brooklyn Nets.

Naturally this makes it even harder for the Magic to get fair value for Howard, which is probably what he wants.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics have resigned Kevin Garnett and are hoping to lock in Ray Allen and Jeff Green to extensions. O.J. Mayo may be a stretch for them as he can get more elsewhere, while Jason Terry could be an option.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors are going all in trying to bring Steve Nash back home to the Great White North.

Here’s an interesting story that gets into the behind-the-scenes drama of Portland’s max contract offer to Roy Hibbert.

One big fish will be Deron Williams who will be choosing from among a number of teams including the Mavs and the Nets.

Boston Celtics steal Game 5 from Miami Heat

The crowd in Miami was quiet all night. Maybe they sensed that the Heat would find a way to lose. Chris Bosh was activated for the game and played well in the first half, and the Heat seemed to be cruising early. But the veterans from Boston all stepped up, despite a horrible shooting night from Rajon Rondo, and Mickael Pietrus contributed 13 points off the bench, including two huge threes in the fourth quarter. Rondo didn’t shoot well, but he had 13 assists and came up with clutch passes time and again. Kevin Garnett was a beast with 26 points and some monster dunks, and Paul Peirce overcame early shooting woes to contribute 19 points and a three-pointer in Lebron’s face that served as the final dagger.

Meanwhile, the Heat just didn’t rise to the occasion. They didn’t play terribly, and Lebron didn’t wilt like he did last year in the Finals, but they just didn’t have enough to win a critical game 5 at home.

You can’t count Miami out for game 6, as Bosh should get more playing time and all of these games have been very close. But losing game 5 at home is devastating, and the Celtics won’t leave anything on the court for game 6. Will the Heat do the same?

The NBA’s Top 10 Franchise Players

Miami Heat forward LeBron James (R) is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (L) in the first quarter during their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, January 30 2011. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

When I originally debuted this list almost two years ago, I took some (surprisingly angry) flack for not settling on a 10th player and for ranking a few guys too high.

The idea for the list sprung from a conversation that I regularly have with a buddy when we are tipping back a few adult beverages: If you could have one current NBA player to build your franchise around, with the goal of winning a NBA title in the next five years – who would it be?

Here’s who I had almost two years ago:

10. Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker (A reader named “all” was very upset that I couldn’t pick a #10 guy. He’s probably still upset about it.)
9. Derrick Rose
8. Brandon Roy
7. Deron Williams
6. Chris Paul
5. Kevin Durant
4. Dwight Howard
3. Kobe Bryant
2. Dwyane Wade
1. LeBron James

I took some heat for including Rose, but obviously he has panned out very well and is likely to win the league MVP this season. Roy’s knees have killed his stock. The other seven picks look pretty solid.

So let’s take another stab at this. Remember, we’re trying to win a title in the next five years, so youth and health is paramount.

Honorable Mention: Carmelo Anthony (defense), Amare Stoudemire (defense, age, knees), Pau Gasol (age), Tyreke Evans (regressing) Tim Duncan (age), Dirk Nowitzki (age), Paul Pierce (age), Rajon Rondo (moody, in a funk since Kendrick Perkins trade) and Kevin Garnett (age).

NOT QUITE WORTH MAX MONEY…YET

12. John Wall (20 years-old)
All right, I’m projecting a little bit here, but it worked with Derrick Rose and I think Wall has a chance to be in the same league. Check out his month-by-month stats over the course of his rookie season:

Month G Min FG % REB AST STL TO PTS
October 2 39.0 0.417 3.0 9.0 1.5 3.0 21.0
November 8 38.1 0.430 3.8 9.1 3.1 4.1 17.3
December 9 34.4 0.383 4.2 7.6 1.0 3.3 13.7
January 16 38.4 0.388 4.2 10.5 1.5 3.9 13.9
February 12 36.3 0.421 4.9 7.9 1.2 3.5 16.5
March 11 41.4 0.411 6.0 7.3 2.0 4.4 19.1

So he burst into the league with a good October and November, but struggled a bit over the next two months as teams had a chance to game plan for him. Then in February and March, he’s able to counter that and get back to his early-season numbers. Great sign.

He’s an outstanding playmaker (9.1+ assists in 2-of-5 months) and is lightning quick. His rookie numbers are very similar to Rose’s, only he’s averaging 2.4 more assists per game. He’d likely be the Rookie of the Year if Blake Griffin hadn’t blown out his knee last season. In three or four years he might be vying for best point guard in the league honors.

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Celtics beat Lakers, 109-96

REFILE – CORRECTING DATE Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (L) talks to Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in the first half during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, California, January 30, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Box Score

The Celtics shot 60.3% from the field and 52.9% from three-point range en route to a 13-point win over the Lakers at Staples Center. It was a very poor showing by the Laker defense, which is ranked 8th in the league in defensive efficiency and 4th in opponent FG%.

Boston’s “Big Four” showed up, and in a big way. Paul Pierce (32 points), Ray Allen (21), Kevin Garnett (18) and Rajon Rondo (10) combined to shoot 33-for-51 (64.7%) from the field. They’re going to be awfully tough to beat when they are scoring this easily.

Kobe hit 16-of-29 shots for 41 points but had ZERO assists. That pretty much tells the story, doesn’t it?

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