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7.15.2008

Larry Siegfried: The Groundbreaker

Red Auerbach had rescued Larry Siegfried from a self-imposed retirement that included teaching a high school gym class. Next thing you know, Siegfried had returned to the hardwood for the Boston Celtics where he won four championship rings in six years. Needless to say, he had built up a sense of loyalty to the Boston Celtics.

So when his name came up in a trade rumor, old Ziggy got a little nervous. Prior to the 1968-69 season, Siegfried was rumored to be in a trade for Atlanta Hawks guard Lenny Wilkens. Ziggy responded by refusing to report to camp until Red either gave him a raise or a no-trade clause. Auerbach hit the roof, and let Siegfried know about it. Siegfried decided he didn't want to talk with Red any more. So he hired an attorney to negotiate for him. Red protested that both the hold-out and the attorney representation were illegal.

He was wrong. Worse, as camp got underway, Red's team lacked an experienced point guard, a role coach Bill Russell expected Siegfried to play.

Astonishingly, Red caved in and gave Siegfried a substantial, but undisclosed, raise. The no-trade clause was left out.

And thus was recorded the first Celtic hold out in team history, the first Celtic player represented by an attorney in negotiations, and, perhaps, the first negotiating defeat suffered by Red Auerbach during his illustrious professional career.

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