Look, I know how attractive it must seem to be Lebron James’ right-hand man next season. I know how wonderful chasing titles and maybe a few extra bucks must feel. I know you are waiting for the free agent chips to fall into place before making your move. I just hope you’re looking at both sides of the equation.
Even though you’ve only been in Boston for three seasons, Boston has adopted you as our own. We have learned to love you, quickly. We admire you for sacrificing some of your game to fit in with your new team. We adore you for the classy manner in which you act, your cool nerves under pressure, and of course, that jumper. Oh, that picture-perfect, I-hope-my-son-will-be-born-with-it-because-I-definitely-wasn’t jump shot from up above.
You won your first championship in Boston. Made two All-Star teams. Came minutes, inches, away from a second title in three years. You formed the second coming of the Big Three and actually lived up to the billing. You became brothers with the men in your locker room.
And now those brothers need you. Doc Rivers decided to give it one more shot. Paul Pierce re-upped. Kevin Garnett is back. Rajon Rondo, too. And Kendrick Perkins is injured, but the scowl will return to uniform by December or Janury. With apologies to Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen, you’re the one main cog who isn’t under contract for next season. If you come back, Ray, if you decide to re-sign with the C’s just like Paul Pierce did a few days ago, you’ll be able to head into next year’s playoffs with the same starting five intact. The starting five that still, to this day, has never lost a playof series.
That starting five is a large part of your legacy, Ray. It’s one of the first things Doc brought up in the loser’s locker room after Game 7, as you guys all wiped away tears: “You’ve still yet to have a true chance to defend your title because Perk wasn’t there.” Do you want to leave knowing that your starting five has been battered, but never beaten? Knowing that you never had a true chance to defend your 2008 title? Knowing that YOU could have returned, that YOU were the only player keeping your brothers from another run at a championship?
I know it’s a lot of pressure, Ray, but it’s the truth. When the Celtics re-signed Pierce, they committed to another year of the Big Three, they committed to another year of YOU. They have no backup plan, no plan B. If you don’t take the money they offer you, that money won’t be spent. They want you back, they want you to return, they want you in Boston, stroking threes and draining midrange jumpers. They kept you around at the trade deadline, when any other team probably would have folded its underperforming hand and shipped you away. They trust you, they love you, they want you and, even more, they need you. With you, the Celtics will likely be contenders again next year. Without you?…
We know the Celtics have already offered you a contract, Ray. We know you’re mulling it over. We know you want to wait for Lebron and the other top-tier free agents to figure things out before you make a decision. We understand. Waiting makes sense. Waiting is the smart thing to do.
But sometimes you’ve got to make decisions with your heart, not your brain. Because it would suck if you lost in your first true chance to defend the 2008 title. It really would. But you want to know what would be even worse?
Never getting that chance.
With love and respect,
Jay King and the Celtics Town community