Milwaukee Bucks: 3 ‘what ifs’ from Bucks’ early 2000s run

22 May 2001: (Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/Allsport)
22 May 2001: (Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/Allsport) /
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Milwaukee Bucks
01 May 2000: (Photo credit: TANNEN MAURY/AFP via Getty Images) /

Trading Ray Allen

More than 17 years after it happened, the Ray Allen trade continues to be rehashed and still stands as a sore spot among Bucks fans.

It clearly goes without saying that Allen’s departure on the day of the 2003 NBA trade deadline traumatically changed the franchise forever and effectively ended the ‘Big 3’ era as we knew it, though Robinson departed six months earlier.

All Bucks fans know the story and motivations behind the trade by now and how Allen and Karl’s incredibly icy relationship increasingly deteriorated, as the majority of star player-coach relationships with Karl have done historically.

While Allen was quoted as saying that “he wouldn’t be upset” with a trade due to the state of his and Karl’s relationship, the Hall of Fame sharpshooter told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in March of 2009 that he envisioned staying in Milwaukee his whole career:

"“That’s what I planned on; that’s what I had hoped,” Allen said of staying in Milwaukee. “I was looking at building and trying to create something great. I always modeled my career after what Brett Favre did in Green Bay; they won a Super Bowl. “I didn’t feel I needed to be in a big market to achieve greatness or even to win a championship. It was all about trying to create a mentality of having a dynasty here. We started doing that. I think we were one or two players away from doing that.”"

While trying to maintain that dynasty would have been difficult, given just how much change the Bucks underwent in the offseason, the point of the Bucks having an in his prime 27-year-old star like Allen to build around and trading him away is an unforgivable sin.

The fact that Karl, as well as Cassell and general manager Ernie Grunfeld, went out the door in the summer rubbed more salt in Bucks fans’ wounds as they saw Allen reach the height of sport by winning a pair of championships with the Boston Celtics and eventually the Miami Heat.

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At the heart of Allen’s departure is a familiar story of egos clashing and unlimited power going unchecked. And all Bucks fans had to live with the cold reality that set back the team for close to a decade.