Adrian Wojnarowski always has the scoop over on Yahoo and he has done it again with his article on Doc's interview about Ray's decision to leave the Celtics for South Beach. Here are Doc's words from that interview on why he blames himself for Ray's decision to leave:
"People can use all the Rondo stuff – and it was there, no doubt about that – but it was me more than Rondo," said Rivers, who is working as an NBC analyst during the Olympics. "I'm the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I'm the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn't mean guys liked that – and Ray did not love that – because Rondo now had the ball all the time.
"Think about everything [Allen] said when he left, 'I want to be more of a part of the offense.' Everything was back at Rondo. And I look at that, and say, 'That's not Rondo's fault.' That's what I wanted Rondo to do, and that's what Rondo should've done. Because that's Rondo's ability. He's the best passer in the league. He has the best feel in the league. He's not a great shooter, so he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. And that bothered Ray.
"And not starting [games] bothered Ray. I did examine it, and the conclusion I came back to was this: By doing the right things, we may have lost Ray. If I hadn't done that, I would've been a hypocrite. In the opening speech I make every year, I tell the team: 'Every decision I make is going to be what's good for the team, and it may not be what's good for the individual.' "
Going back to my post today about chemistry and team having to come before a player's ego, Ray had to leave. He had gotten to the point where his ego was more important to him than the good of the team and that would have been poisonous to this team if he stayed with the Celtics this season. In a great post today on Lex Nihil Novi, Lex agrees with Doc's decision that Rondo has to be the guy to take control. Doc said he listens to his players and not a single one told him he was wrong for starting Avery over Ray. That's because everyone saw how much better the Celtics were with Avery in the starting lineup.
Everyone, that is, except Ray. And so, even if Doc takes the blame for Ray leaving, it's ultimately Ray who is to blame. He's the one who decided to put his ego over what was best for the team. Doc made decisions that clearly made the team better. And if those decisions made Ray bitter, I wish him luck in Miami, because those same decisions will have to be made there and a player who can't put the team above himself will never be a good thing for a team. And for the Celtics to win this season, it has to be team above all, just as it was in 2008.