As noted below, it's not like Bill Walton came back from the dead during the 1985-86 season. It only seemed that way. In fact, the Mountain Man played quite a bit during the 1984-85 NBA season, and played quite well at times.
I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of news coverage Mountain Man was getting in the year before he arrived in green.
Here's the first few installments:
Lakers coach Pat Riley remains unsigned, but says, "Things are getting more active and there's not going to be any problem." As for Clippers center Bill Walton, Riley says, "There's no secret we've been pursuing him, but we have a (salary) cap problem. Still, it's not a dead issue." Riley adds, "We've done a lot of talking with people. We're re-evaluating our team, but we don't want to make any reactive moves because of our tough loss to Boston.
--Boston Globe, September 4, 1984
The Lakers still are making noises about signing free agent Bill Walton, but Clippers general manager Carl Scheer insists his team will match a ny offer, although he does qualify his promise. "If they (the Lakers) want to trade James Worthy and Michael Cooper for Bill Walton,' said Scheer, "sure, I'm interested.
--Los Angeles Times, Septemeber 2, 1984
Bill Walton, who became a free agent at the end of last season and reportedly is being sought by the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, has been offered $400,000 to play a 32-game schedule in Italy. The offer reportedly was made by Dan Peterson, who owns a franchise in Milan.
--Miami Herald, August 19, 1984
The Mavericks still are looking for a center. Possibilities include Swen Nater of the Lakers (a free agent), Poquette of Cleveland or Walton, who is a free agent. The Clippers, however, who own the right of first refusal for Walton, have said that they will match any offer the Mavericks make. Dallas made an offer for Caldwell Jones, but the last thing the Houston Rockets want to do is help Dallas, so they traded him to Chicago for Mitchell.
--Dallas Morning News, August 18, 1984
Clippers center Bill Walton wants out, and the Lakers might make room by dumping Mitch Kupchak. But the Clippers would have to match any offer or lose face with their new fans in LA.
--New York Times, August 1, 1984