Talking on his weekly appearance with the Dennis and Callahan Show Thursday morning, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that the brief interaction he had with Ray Allen was the first time the two had talked since the former Celtics guard committed to signing with Miami.
"I wish I would have talked to him," said Rivers when asked if he had any communication with Allen following the guard's decision to leave the Celtics. "Honestly, Ray changed his number, and not because of this. My guess is that he was getting a lot of calls. So I never had a chance to talk to him. That was the first time I had seen him or talked to him, during the game on the floor, so I wish I would have had a chance to talk to him."
Rivers stated that he thought, talent-wise, the Celtics had made up for the loss of Allen, but it remained to be seen if his team was able to manufacture the expected success with the revamped roster.
"We replaced Ray nicely, but having said that they're going to make a big deal about it because Ray is a good player. He's probably going to be a Hall-of-Famer, one of the greatest shooters who ever played the game and won a title with us," Rivers said. "When a guy leaves and goes to the team that knocked you out the last two years, I think people make a big deal of it. I get that part of it. But we've moved on, and I've moved on the minute Ray said he wanted to go play for Miami.
"I think we're potentially better, but I don't think we are right now. The continuity of our team has to settle in. On paper it looks great, but the key for us is everyone buying into their roles and understanding their roles. I think before the season starts everyone is happy, and then the season starts and you start figuring out, 'Wait, I'm not going to get as many shots or as many minutes.' Then you have what kind of character you have with your team.
"You just don't know guys until you coach guys. I will say this, I think we've got a great group of guys. I don't anticipate that being a problem, but you never know."
Rivers also said he believed Kevin Garnett's reaction to Allen's greeting Tuesday night -- with the Celtics' center not acknowledging his former teammate's pat on the shoulder -- wasn't an act.
"Kevin is really genuine," the coach said. "I don't know if the word is mad or disappointed. I don't know what the word is. Kevin has his own code, and God bless him. I love his mentality. I think it's refreshing sometimes."
Rivers said that Allen wasn't even the biggest free agent he had lost after recruiting. That, he explained, would have been when the Orlando were making a run at San Antonio center Tim Duncan when Rivers was Orlando's coach. He also cited the previous offseason, when the Celtics failed to keep David West from going to Indiana.
"I lost a bigger one, and probably learned a lot of lessons from that. Tim Duncan in Orlando," Rivers said. "We never had him, but I thought we had him turned and we lost him. So I'll always remember that one.
"I guess the other one would be David West last year, more because David basically told me he was coming. So I'm siting at home and read the next day he's going somewhere else. I would love to say it's me, but it's because we had Kevin, Ray, Paul and Rondo. Guys want to play with them and that helps me recruit."
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