The Philadelphia 76ers asked Julius Erving if he'd consider relocating 3000 miles to the west. The Doc said, ah, no thank you.
Can you imagine Red Auerbach doing such a thing?
I always felt loyalty was a two-way street," Auerbach said in response to the trade rumor. "To get loyalty, you've got to give it."Boston's true stars can't even imagine having Red saying, "Hate to tell you this, but you're finishing your career in Cleveland.""If anything like what happened to Julius had happened to me," says John Havlicek, "I would have been surprised, and probably hurt, but I don't think Red would ever have done that. Red's a pretty loyal guy. If you've been with him a long time, he's not going to sell you down the drain at that point."
The 76ers were being pragmatic, to be sure. Like everyone else, they were trying to cope with the salary cap, and The Doc is in the $1.5 million-$1.7 million range next season. But, geez, this is still, you know, Dr. J.
When you get a player of a certain stature," says Auerbach, "he deserves the whole treatment you can give. He gets to play his whole career here, he gets his number retired and he gets his night."
The Sixers would have received Los Angeles Clippers forward Terry Cummings in return.
Red was loyal. But he was also always on the hunt for older players looking for a change. I say Red was saying these things at least in part to let Doc know that he would have been treated better in Boston if he had chosen to end his career there.