Rivers said he was the one who made the decisions that eventually led to Allen's exit.
"People can use all the Rondo stuff — and it was there, no doubt about that — but it was me more than Rondo," Rivers said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. "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."
Allen, of course, bolted for South Beach in July despite the Celtics' efforts to re-sign him. The decision rubbed some fans the wrong way, mostly because Allen was joining a team that had just bounced the C's from the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games. Rivers was among those upset, but his displeasure didn't stem from Allen's decision to join the reigning NBA champions.
"I was pissed at him," Rivers told Yahoo! Sports. "I was pissed at him for his reasons for leaving. But what people don't get: I wasn't pissed at him for leaving for Miami. I could care less he went there. And that's a fact. With the fans, I know it was, 'How could he go to Miami?' But once he decided he didn't want to stay with us, he has the right to wherever he wants."
Rivers said he admitted that he thought Allen was leaving for all the wrong reasons, until he stepped back and realized Allen had to do what was best for himself — because that's what free agency is all about.
While Rivers accepts responsibility for Allen leaving, the coach made it clear that every decision he made was in the best interest of the Celtics. He said that's the message in his opening speech each season: doing what's best for the team rather than the individual.
"As a coach, you've got to do what's best for the team. If guys don't like it, they're going to leave. If they stay and don't like it, well, your team's going to suck anyway," Rivers reportedly said. "Even if this happens, you still have to do it. You can't coach worrying about any individual. You've got to coach worrying about your entire team — whether that gets you a championship or whether that gets you fired."
Rivers said that if Allen stayed, it was because he understood how the Celtics were going to operate offensively, and that if he left, it was because he wasn't over the idea. The Celtics head man insists Allen's decision was going to be "right" either way.
Considering the season the Celtics had, it's difficult to say many decisions by Rivers were anything but "right" — Allen or no Allen.
H/T to Yahoo! Sports
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