There's gold for the green: Carr, Gaston among the officers who cashed in

September 27, 1997

The team lost as never before and the fans stayed away, but all in all, it wasn't a bad year for those who ran the Celtics.

Former coach M.L. Carr got a $ 1 million bonus for guiding the team to a franchise-worst 15 wins. Chairman of the board Paul Gaston got his salary bumped by 150 percent. And new hoop honcho Rick Pitino signed on for 10 years and $ 49.1 million to lead the team out of the hardwood wilderness.

These details and others were contained in the latest filing, as legally required, by the Celtics' partnership yesterday. The filing contains information for fiscal year 1997, which ended June 30.

While the team finished with the second-worst record in the NBA, Carr received $ 2 million for his work, half of it in salary. He since has moved on to a job created for him as executive vice president for corporate development, a capacity in which he reportedly will also earn seven figures the next few years.

Gaston made $ 400,000 in salary the last three years but was voted a raise to $ 1 million last June. The team also paid out more than $ 100,000 to a charter aircraft company called Conanicut for business use last year. Gaston is the sole owner and officer of Conanicut.

Pitino received $ 750,000 for his short time on board in the last fiscal year (he was officially hired May 6), but his annual salary as head coach and team president will be $ 6.75 million for six years and $ 2 million as club president for the last four years. He also was given a $ 600,000 bonus, and if there is an ownership change, he will receive either $ 22 million or what's left of his contract, whichever is less.

Pitino's top assistant, Jim O'Brien, has a three-year deal, as does general manager Chris Wallace. Assistants Winston Bennett and John Carroll and conditioning coach Shaun Brown all have two-year deals. The team is spending $ 10.94 million on nonplayer salaries in 1997-98. The figure last season was $ 5.441 million.

Former team president Red Auerbach, whose title was changed when Pitino came aboard, collected a $ 600,000 bonus last season, along with his annual stipend-for-life of $ 250,000. Former Celtics CFO Dave Gavitt, who helped broker the Pitino deal, received $ 300,000 last season and is slated to receive another $ 450,000 through June 2001.

There was no breakdown on player salaries, other than to note the team is paying more than the salary cap figure of $ 26.9 million. Chris Mills and Travis Knight are signed through 2004, having been given seven-year deals as free agents. Other sources indicate that Dee Brown, who will earn $ 3.5 million, and Dana Barros, who will earn $ 3.4 million, are the team's two highest-paid players.

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