Parish, Playing Better than Anyone Expected, Due for Big Payoff

December 1980


The Celtics' front office is planning to launch a full-court press on center Robert Parish in the immediate future. "Our top priority right now is getting Parish signed to a new contract," said owner Harry Mangurian on a recent visit to Boston.

The Celtics find themselves in a strange situation with Parish. Naturally, they want him to play well and be part of a championship season. However, the better he plays, the more it costs them.

Parish is on the final year of a contract he signed with Golden State before he was traded to the Celtics last spring.

He is in an excellent position to make big bucks because the rules of the money game in the NBA have changed this season in his favor. No longer will a team be required to pay compensation for signing a free agent, as was the case in the past.

More to the point, the Celtics could lose Parish to another team (if they failed to match that team's offer) and get nothing in return because the NBA abolished the compensation rule as of last season.

What the Celtics do have going for them, should Parish test the free-agent waters, is right of first refusal, which means that if they match the best offer that Parish gets from another team, he stays with the Celtics.

But that offer, especially in light of the way Parish has been playing, could be extremely costly, and the Celtics don't want to take the risk of having the stakes go continually higher.

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