August 3, 1982
Cowens Coming Out of Retirement; Doesn't Want to Play in Boston
Dave Cowens could be a member of the Phoenix Suns a week from today if all the pieces fall together. Celtics general manager Red Auerbach said yesterday that he has given permission to Suns general manager Jerry Colangelo to talk with Cowens and run him through workouts in preparation for a possible trade.
"Some weeks ago I gave Phoenix permission to talk with Dave, and I understand a couple of weeks ago he met with Colangelo in the Salt Lake City airport for a couple of hours and talked things out," Auerbach said. "I guess they thought they had a deal, but I didn't think what Phoenix was offering at the time was enough. If they give us what we feel is right, then we make the deal."
Auerbach said Colangelo will come to Boston next Monday to run Cowens through some workouts. "He wants to see Dave in action. He'll probably work him out at Dave's basketball school to see if he can still run, and things like that. Then Colangelo is going to meet with me the next day, and we'll see what happens."
One man who is not eager to peddle Cowens is Celtics owner Harry Mangurian. "I'd still like to see the guy play for us next year," he said. "I really would. I feel he can be a hell of a player, and Red has an idea that maybe, with the (two) years away from the game, Cowens could really be something. I don't care how many big guys we have up front, I'd still prefer to see him in a Celtics uniform next season."
However, Cowens has made it clear that he does not want to play in Boston, which is why Auerbach is talking with Phoenix - and Milwaukee. "I understand," saidMangurian, "that Milwaukee is also very interested. I know there are other teams who have spoken to us about Cowens, but Phoenix and Milwaukee seem to be the ones who want him the most."
The Celtics have also started to move on another important matter, one that, in the long run, will mean more to the team's future. Auerbach has made a date for later this month to open contract talks with the agent for Kevin McHale, contract expires at the end of next season. McHale is going to command big numbers, and the Celtics' front office (Mangurian and Auerbach) feels this negotiation is extremely important because of its potential impact on the rest of the team.
The Boston salary structure was fairly consistent two years ago when Robert Parish signed a long-term contract. But that was prior to the NBA's free agency, which sent contracts spiralling. Now, the Celtics must try to sign McHale without making a deal that will cause other Celtics to want to renegotiate. They also have to keep in mind that they'll be dealing with Larry Bird again a year from now.
The Celtics won't have any trouble getting coach Bill Fitch to sign again. They won't have to. Mangurian quietly extended the contract of his head coach three years in the middle of last season. "No one ever asked me," said Mangurian, "but Bill seemed to be happy about it."-
Those Foxborough neighbors - Schaefer Stadium and New England Harness Raceway - are feuding again. The Foxboro Associates, owner of the harness track, went into Norfolk Superior Court on July 23 and was granted a preliminary injunction against Stadium Managment, owned by Patriots vice president Chuck Sullivan.
Stadium Management is doing renovations - including constructing luxury boxes and a new scoreboard - at Schaefer Stadium. But the owner of the adjacent harness track claimed some of its newly paved parking lots were being torn up by the heavy equipment, and that the construction company working on the stadium was dumping debris on land belonging to the track.-
The Bruins are breathing easier following weekend surgery on Rick Middleton's shoulder. The team had been concerned that Middleton might have the kind of rotator-cuff problems that plagued Terry O'Reilly and Wayne Cashman. But Dr. Bert Zarins discovered during the arthroscopic procedure Saturday that Middleton was bothered by a frayed tendon. Middleton should be available for the season opener.