If the Minnesota Timberwolves had not selected Ray Allen with the 5th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, Allen said yesterday, Red Auerbach had committed to selecting Allen with the 6th pick.
Allen had only worked out for the top four teams in that draft, but the top four picks came and went without the UConn sharpshooter being picked. That left just one selection standing between Allen and the Celtics.
“I’m sitting with my family on draft day,” explained Allen during a speaking engagement at UConn, “and I’m ecstatic because before I came downstairs to the draft, I spoke to Red Auerbach. And he said, ‘If you come up at six, we got you.’ So in my mind, I was like, ‘Yes.’ I could still stay on (UConn’s) campus. I could play in Boston. I’m not leaving New England. That was my hope and my desire because I wanted to stay here, because fans in New England have been so great to me.
“So the 5th pick came and cameras came over to my table and Minnesota was picking, and my head dropped. How was this happening? I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even take a visit to Minnesota. I was like, ”They’re not following my rules.’ And unbeknownst to me, they could do whatever they want because they’re picking. And they picked me at the 5th pick, and I was very, very hot that day. I was getting drafted, but I was very, very hot. And then on draft day, I came back to the stage and I got traded to Milwaukee. And I was doing media for about five minutes, and I was speaking to everybody in Minnesota, and they were asking me what did I think about going to Minnesota, and what was it going to be like playing with their guys, and I was still mad. I was like, ‘Who’s in Minnesota?’ ”
Umm, Kevin Garnett. But back then, he was only just an inexperienced pup — a pitbull pup, but still a pup.
Ray Allen just wanted to stay in New England. But it’s probably for the best that he didn’t — Chris Wallace probably would have traded Allen for, I don’t know, Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers or something.
(h/t Red’s Army)