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McHale Drama Continues
The quotes have been nice and the smiles have been wide, but the Celtics didn't completely achieve their objective in their War of the Greenbacks with the Knicks. New York fouled the master plan by matching Boston's offers to Rory Sparrow, Marvin Webster and Sly Williams.
Once the Knicks went after Kevin McHale, Red Auerbach and Harry Mangurian went after the Knicks. The Celtics' master plan, a tad Machiavellian, was as follows:
- Match any offer for McHale and keep him in Boston.
- Sign Sparrow, Williams and Webster.
- Keep Sparrow and deal Williams and Webster for draft choices. The Celtics reportedly had those deals set to go.
If that had happened, Boston would have picked up Sparrow, still would have had McHale and also would have obtained the draft choices (from the Williams-Webster trades).
New York, meanwhile, would have been decimated by not signing McHale, losing Sparrow, Webster and Williams, and having already allowed Paul Westphal to depart so that McHale could be signed. The Knicks then would be out four players from their rapidly improving '82-83 team for going after McHale. A heavy punishment, indeed, for attempting to snatch McHale.
But the Knicks counterpunched by matching Boston's offers for Sparrow, Webster and Williams. Still and all, Mangurian and Auerbach fared well and both the Knicks and McHale may be twisting in a warm wind this weekend.
What has soured the Celtics with McHale is that Mangurian and Auerbach thought they twice had agreements. In the famous "reneging" in Philadelphia, Mangurian shook hands with McHale on a deal only to learn the next morning that McHale now wanted a $1 million guarantee if he were traded. Mangurian supposedly told him that was a new condition and the deal, which Mangurian thought he had, was off.
Then, last week, the Celtics were told by John Sandquist, McHale's agent, that McHale likely would stay in Boston if they would extend their three-year, $1 million-a-year offer by another year. Auerbach and Mangurian reportedly thrashed it out and finally decided to do it, but when they called Sandquist to tell him they had a deal, Sandquist reportedly said that deal was off.
So here's the NBA scoreboard for the Fourth of July weekend: The Knicks are out Paul Westphal, stuck with Marvin Webster and have come out the worst in the journeymen Rudy Macklin-for-Sly Williams trade (besides, New York will be paying a healthy chunk of Williams' Atlanta salary) and both New York and Boston are unhappy with McHale.
And the Celtics are waiting for McHale to come home to roost.
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