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The Deals Of A Lifetime
Frank Deford
February 15, 1982
Here, in order, are Auerbach's top personnel maneuvers ranked according to the quality of the players involved and the degree of cleverness of the deal. For example, picking John Havlicek as the last man in the first round of the 1962 draft is always rated as a top Auerbachian decision, but given the choices available to him, that wasn't nearly as cagey as many of his other moves.
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February 15, 1982

The Deals Of A Lifetime

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Here, in order, are Auerbach's top personnel maneuvers ranked according to the quality of the players involved and the degree of cleverness of the deal. For example, picking John Havlicek as the last man in the first round of the 1962 draft is always rated as a top Auerbachian decision, but given the choices available to him, that wasn't nearly as cagey as many of his other moves.

1) Traded Ed Macauley and the rights to Cliff Hagan to St. Louis for the draft pick that would be Bill Russell (1956).

2) Picked Larry Bird sixth in the first round of the draft, though he was still eligible to play in college for another year (1978). Do you believe in the stars? Bird arrived in the world in the same month, December 1956, and under the same sign, Sagittarius, that Russell arrived in Boston.

3) Traded Bob McAdoo, whom he would have given away, to Detroit for M.L. Carr and two draft choices, which became Kevin McHale and Robert Parish (1979).

4) Traded the draft rights to Charlie Share to Ft. Wayne for the rights to Bill Sharman and Gabby Harris and $10,000, which he used to sign Bob Brannum, thereby getting the Celtics an eight-time All-Star and two regulars (1950).

5) Picked up Don Nelson for nothing after every other NBA team had passed on him (1965). Nelson would play on five Celtic championship teams.

6) 101 Ways To Deal Charlie Scott. Drafted him in seventh round with a throwaway pick when Scott was already committed to ABA (1970). Traded NBA rights to Scott to Phoenix for Paul Silas (1972), the Suns agreeing to continue paying a chunk of Silas' 5125,000 salary for the ensuing four years, during which Silas helped the Celtics win two titles. Traded Paul Westphal and two second-round draft choices to Phoenix for Scott (1975). Westphal became a better player than Scott, but he couldn't pair in the Boston backcourt with Jo Jo White. Later, after Scott had helped lead Boston to the '76 title, he was traded to Los Angeles in a deal in which Red reacquired Don Chaney.

7) Picked Dave Cowens, who would later become the league MVP as a 6'8�" center, as the fourth choice in the first round of the draft (1970).

8) Obtained Bailey Howell from Baltimore even-up for Mel Counts. This deal was so good that the Celtics didn't make another body-for-body trade again for more than eight years (1966).

9) Decided at last minute not to send Red Auerbach to run the N.Y. Knicks (1979).

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