LeBron James was the bane of humanity for leaving Cleveland. Ray Allen was Benedict Arnold for ditching the Celtics.
But Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett? Ah, they were just going to a new team because their time in Boston was up.
That’s not the way everyone has seen the departure of Pierce and Garnett from the Celtics, but at least a couple of Miami Heat stars are finding it strange that, in a league where others have been criticized for leaving their teams before, Pierce and Garnett seem to have been given a free pass.
James spoke Wednesday about his first thoughts when he heard Pierce and Garnett were jumping to the Brooklyn Nets.
“The first thing that I thought was like, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,” James said, according to the Daily News. “I think it’s OK. I don’t mind it, but there was a couple guys that basically [criticized] Ray for leaving, and everybody else is leaving.”
Allen took a lot of heat for leaving Boston, and Garnett and Rajon Rondo both had a part in shunning their former teammate. But Pierce and Garnett’s situation was a little different — they were traded, while Allen chose to leave the Celtics voluntarily. Allen was also seen as breaking up Boston’s Big Three before it was due, while Pierce and Garnett were dealt after president of basketball operations Danny Ainge signaled the end by letting coach Doc Rivers go.
James may also be irked that Pierce and Garnett aren’t getting criticized like he was after leaving Cleveland, but he also chose to ditch the Cavs, and very publicly. Pierce and Garnett, however, both talked about wanting to retire as Celtics, and Garnett had a no-trade clause that he had to choose to waive before leaving, so he did have some say in the decision.
Dwyane Wade also wouldn’t give Pierce and Garnett — with whom he says he still plans to have bad blood — a pass.
“We all know how it works,” he said. “People say things about people when they decide to do something, but then people do the same thing. It’s about putting yourself in the best situation. It’s about doing what’s best for your family.”
What’s been best for Wade’s family is both Allen and James joining him in Miami.