This is pretty much how Celtics fans and Heat Haters feel right now. In case you tuned out the NBA during the offseason, you know that Ray Allen (aka Jesus Shuttlesworth) has signed with the Miami Heat. This move is surprising for a few reasons: first, Allen turned down TWICE as much money from his former team, the Boston Celtics. Second, the Heat and Celtics have had a “rivalry” the past two seasons (I have to use quotes there because the Celtics have never actually beaten the Heat in the playoffs since LeBron took his talents to South Beach).

Several writers have reported on this story, noting that Allen had problems with Rondo and felt disrespected by the Celtics. I want to break down a free agent’s right to choose. The bottom line: Ray Allen is still Jesus (not Judas) Shuttleworth.

This isn’t a new thing

As sports fans, we have to come to grips with a harsh reality. As much as you love your team and feel they represent where you’re from, you’re just rooting for laundry. There could be 8-foot blue avatars running around in your favorite team’s jersey, and you would feel the same way. I know this might feel like the day you caught “the Tooth Fairy” putting a dollar under your pillow (what did our parents do with all our teeth anyway?), but it’s true.

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Remember when Johnny Damon left the Boston Red Sox and joined the Yankees? New York fans felt weird for about 3 seconds until they realized Damon could still hit. Damon even said, “There’s no way I could play for the Yankees…” (no, seriously) before they promised him more money a year later! Do you know any Yankee fans who don’t claim the 2009 championship because Damon was a part of it? Of course not, Yankee fans take any reason to thump their chest and talk loudly (I kid…kinda).

In any case, the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry is a real one, and goes back much farther than the Celtics/Heat disagreement (again, not a real rivalry). If you’re mad at Ray for going to Miami, remember Johnny Damon and the Tooth Fairy. This underscores my larger point…

 

The NBA is a business; use them before they use you –

Seriously, do you think Boston values Allen any more than “Replacement Player X”? Consider this, Boston tried to trade Ray earlier this past season to Memphis. They actually had traded him, told him so, and called him back when the deal fell through. THEN the team benched Ray in favor of Avery Bradley for the second half of the season. THEN the team signed Jason Terry, who plays the same position as Allen, from the Dallas Mavericks.

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I’m pretty sure the Celtics felt Jesus had regressed to Apostle…or Deacon Shuttleworth.

These moves happen every year, to virtually every non All-Star in the league. It’s the nature of business in the NBA. Why get mad when a player feels (justifiably) disrespected and chooses to sign elsewhere? I’m pretty sure you’d leave too if your boss tried to trade you, gave your projects to someone else, then signed your replacement away from a rival firm. It’s not like Ray was chasing a ring; he has one. Chasing money? He took less to go to Miami. I just don’t have it in me to hate on the guy.

None of this matters to many sports fans. If my Pistons were good enough to have a rival, or a star player, I’d probably be upset. Since they don’t (sigh), allow my neutral perspective to give you guidance. It’s not Ray’s fault, he’s just playing the hand he was dealt.

How do you feel, SBM Sports Fans? Are you more upset with Ray for leaving Boston or joining the Heat? Have I talked you off the ledge at all, Celtics fans? Hit the comments and let me know!