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Ray Allen congratulates Paul Pierce on jersey retirement

From Staff

The bitter chill between Ray Allen and his former Celtics teammates has temporarily thawed, at least on his part via a heart-felt tribute to Paul Pierce on Instagram congratulating him on having his jersey retired in Boston over the weekend.

“Despite what you may have heard or read or what is rumored — there is nothing but love,” Allen wrote. “To Paul, number 34, congratulations on having your number raised up to the rafters. I salute you for your commitment to the city of Boston and to us the 2008 NBA Champions.”

Allen was a conspicuous absence at Sunday’s ceremony, in which Pierce — the second-leading scorer in franchise history — became the 22nd Celtics player to have his number retired.

Relations between Allen and his Celtics teammates soured when he joined the Heat via free agency in 2012 after five seasons in Boston, including the team’s first championship in more than 20 years in 2008. Time has done little to heal those wounds, as Pierce detailed during an appearance with Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis last year on TNT’s Area 21.

“I was initially hurt with the way everything went down,” Pierce said. “I don’t have beef with any of my teammates. To each his own. But I thought we formed a brotherhood here in Boston, not only on the court but off the court. When Ray didn’t at least give us a head’s up, and then to go to the team (we were trying to beat) … I just felt like we should have had a conversation. It wouldn’t have been as salty. Now it’s uncomfortable. I haven’t talked to Ray in some years now. It’s different. It felt like a sour breakup.”

Perkins went on to say it was now a matter of which side was willing to make the first step to restore relations.

While it remains to be seen how Pierce received Allen’s message, that first step has seemingly been taken.