MIAMI, Fla. -- He was perhaps their biggest thorn when the Miami Heat played the Boston Celtics the past few seasons.
Ultimately, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo could have played the biggest part in the Heat landing 3-point shooter Ray Allen. Multiple reports suggested a soured relationship between Rondo and Allen possibly led to Allen's departure.
Yahoo! Sports reported the two had a "cold war" that began during the 2009-10 season. That year Rondo signed a five-year, $55-million extension, which soon after spawned Allen trade talk. Although their beef was non-confrontational, the article stated they engaged in mostly "behind-the-back sniping to teammates" that led to a falling out.
Age also played a factor with the younger Rondo in charge of a veteran-laden team, led by Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
"When it comes to basketball, Rondo is the smartest player on the team — one of the smartest players in the league," the Yahoo! Sports report quoted one locker-room source as saying. "And Ray considers himself a smart guy. But at some point, it became hard for Ray to be corrected by a guy so much younger than him."
It may be just the occurrence needed for Allen to avoid similar, if any, criticism as when his new teammate LeBron James left Cleveland to join the Heat in the summer of 2010. The circumstances were different, considering James was one of the league's best players while Allen, 36, is on the downside of his career.
Still, the Celtics, like the Cavaliers did for James, seemingly made every possible pitch to keep Allen in Boston. Garnett signed for three more years while they added guard Jason Terry, ensuring the Celtics could contend for a title.
Boston without injured starting guard Avery Bradley took the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals before losing the series. So Allen instead of being ridiculed for leaving a team with pieces in place for one final run has been mostly revered for accepting less money to compete for a championship.
With the exception of New Orleans guard Jarrett Jack tweeting, "Am I wrong for thinking ray allen is a traitor for signing with his rival team the heat?," not many took exception with Allen's decision.
"One of the things you learn coming into the NBA is that it's a business, and you have to do what's best for you and your family," Boston center JuJuan Johnson told reporters in Orlando, where Boston is playing in the summer league.
The Heat, meanwhile, continued to relish their prize catch of free agency. James tweeted late Friday night "#HeatNation please welcome our newest teammate Ray Allen #Wow#JesusShuttlesworth," referring to Allen's character in the movie "He Got Game." Moments later, James posted a picture of Allen wearing a Heat uniform.
Guard Dwyane Wade took time out from a teammate's wedding anniversary party to say on his Twitter, ''HeatNation continues to grow."
Camby postpones visit
Houston Rockets center Marcus Camby postponed his Saturday visit with the Heat because of the Allen signing.
Camby reportedly has no interest in playing for less than the yearly $3.09-million mini mid-level exception. The Heat no longer have it available because it was used on Allen, leaving a sign-and-trade deal as the only option. Forward Rashard Lewis , who has expressed interest in playing for the veteran's minimum of $1.3 million, is expected to meet with Miami on Sunday.