MIAMI — A day after Ray Allen declined to speak about his former Celtics teammates, Udonis Haslem didn’t hold back on the topic Friday.
During a TNT television segment on Monday, Allen’s former Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Paul Pierce and Glen Davis spoke about their hurt feelings and non-existent relationship with Allen stemming from his 2012 departure to the Heat.
But Haslem had a message for that group of former Celtics during an appearance on The Joe Rose Show on WQAM.
“It’s not like the year before with Ray they beat us,” Haslem said Friday of the Heat eliminating a Celtics team that included Allen in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. “Put it this way, it wasn’t the similar situation to maybe Kevin Durant going to the team that beat him. It was, you got your ass whooped with Ray, and we got Ray and we whooped your ass again.”
Allen did not want to speak about his former teammates’ comments on Thursday when he donated a computer lab to Horace Mann Middle School in Miami with the help of his Ray of Hope Foundation. But Haslem’s response was strong as he defended Allen’s decision to leave the Celtics to sign with the Heat in 2012.
“I mean, they got to let that go,” Haslem said. “When you get to a point where you’re a free agent, you have the opportunity to make the best decision for you. Quality of life: Boston, Miami? Ehh, you guys can figure that one out.
“I understand because at that time it was somewhat of a rivalry between us and Boston. But even when they had Ray, we beat them. So it wasn’t like Ray came and helped us get over the edge.”
Allen left Boston and joined Miami in July 2012, turning down a two-year, $12 million deal from the Celtics to sign a three-year, $9.5 million contract with the Heat. Entering the offseason Allen left Boston for Miami, the Heat had eliminated the Celtics in the playoffs in two consecutive seasons and Miami was coming off the first NBA championship of the Big Three era.
With Allen, the Heat went on to win another championship in 2013. Allen spent two seasons with Miami, averaging 10.3 points and shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point range.
“Man, I love Ray,” Haslem said. “Ray’s one of those guys that 50 years from now, I can always sit down and pick his brain and I can always look up to him as a veteran, a guy who’s accomplished so much in this league, but just not on the floor, off the floor as well. He’s the ultimate professional. I have the ultimate respect for Ray.
“You’ll never hear me say anything bad about Ray. Even if he was to leave the Heat and go play for San Antonio, I would still have the same, as much respect for Ray. If we had to play them the next year, it wouldn’t change the way I feel about Ray as a person. And I’m the ultimate competitor. Like, I keep a bad taste in my mouth, I keep a chip on my shoulder. You can’t be mad at Ray. Ray’s not that guy.”