The Boston Celtics fell short in the 2022 NBA Finals earlier this month, losing in six games to the Golden State Warriors. As a result, the quest for a record-setting Banner No. 18 will last at least another season, and come next spring the legendary franchise’s title drought will reach 15 years.
Speaking of that 2008 Celtics team, they were back in the news again this weekend thanks to Kendrick Perkins’ appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast, “The Old Man & The Three.” At one point, they got to discussing the beef between Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, and Perkins revealed that the other teammates actually “made” those two box at the practice facility to settle their differences.
“When things started to go south, in my opinion, the first incident was when Ray was pushing so hard to trade Rondo for [Chris Paul],” Perkins said. “It got back to Rondo. Right there we started having a little friction. We made Ray and Rondo actually box it out. They had so much beef we got to the practice facility, we brought the boxing gloves and they had to box it out because we didn’t want to the tension no more.
“I’m glad we got it back together now. Ray, you saw him at the Boston game, he went and supported [Kevin Garnett]. Everybody’s back on talking terms.”
Look, people can get annoyed all they want about that Celtics team remaining relevant despite only winning one title, but there aren’t any other groups going on podcasts telling stories about how they made two teammates box at the practice facility to clear the air.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, the stunt didn’t work, as Allen walked in free agency during the summer of 2012. And not only did he leave, but he joined the Miami Heat, who had just eliminated the Celtics in a hard-fought seven games in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.
As for Perkins’ note about why the friction started, Allen remembered it differently. After leaving the team, he told reporters that the issues started in 2009 when then-Celtics president Danny Ainge tried to trade Rondo and Allen to the Phoenix Suns for a package centered around Amar’e Soudemire.
Ainge was notorious during his Celtics tenure for almost making trades, so it’s hard to know exactly what was true, especially over a decade later. There were plenty of rumors, though, including that the Celtics were pushing to get Chris Paul even though he told the team he wouldn’t re-sign there in free agency.
It’s not worth diving any deeper into a trade that didn’t happen a long time ago, but as a closing note consider this incredible report from Tim Kawakami, now of The Athletic: in 2011, the Celtics tried to trade Rondo to the Golden State Warriors for Steph Curry, who they were then going to flip to the New Orleans Hornets for Paul. How’s that for an NBA what if?