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.

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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.

Rajon Rondo tries to sneak a look at the Miami Heat huddle [video]

Good to see Ray Allen come over to pull him away. This is poor sportsmanship.

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?

Celtics hold off new-look Heat, 88-80

Boston Celtics' Shaquille O'Neal (R) dunks over Miami Heat defenders, including Chris Bosh (1), during the first quarter of their NBA game in Boston, Massachusetts, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

It was an ugly first half that included a nine-point first quarter from Miami’s new Super Friends, but LeBron James (31-4-3, 8 turnovers) got it going in the second half and led the way as the Heat cut Boston’s 19-point lead down to three. But Rajon Rondo (17 assists) Paul Pierce (19-9-3), Ray Allen (20 points, 5-8 3PT) and Glen Davis (13-5) were too much in the end, and the Celtics prevailed, 88-80.

I actually think the Heat will come away feeling pretty good about the game, given the performance of Dwyane Wade (4-of-16, 13 points) and Chris Bosh (3-of-11, 8 points). Wade didn’t play much at all in the preseason and was obviously shaking off the rust as the game wore on. And let’s not forget that the Heat were without their fourth (or fifth) best player, Mike Miller, who injured his hand and will be out for a while. They also need to figure out how to chase Allen on those off-ball screens. Both Wade and House tried to go over the top when they should just chase, chase and chase some more.

For the Celtics, Shaq (9-7) started the game, but Davis finished it. The best line I saw on Twitter came from @ShotDrJr: “When Big Baby comes in for Shaq, it’s as if the Celtics have opened a nesting doll.” Classic.

Heat fans obviously shouldn’t panic. It was an important game, but the chips were stacked against Miami. Wade was rusty and the Heat haven’t had a chance to work out the offensive kinks, and going up against the league’s best defensive team is not the way to do it. The fact that they scored just nine points in the first quarter and still only lost by eight is actually encouraging.

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