Larry Bird, Boston's all-star forward, is apparently on the verge of signing a contract with the Celtics for more than $15 million.
Bird and the Celtics' new owners yesterday had reportedly reached general agreement on a multiyear contract that would guarantee Bird more than $2 million a year and bring him more than $15 million over the life of the pact.
Neither the Celtics nor Bird's agent, Bob Woolf, would verify the figures, but Woolf acknowledged yesterday that ''we are very close to agreement with the Celtics,'' and made clear that he had been pressing for a contract that would exceed the $13.2 million, six-year contract that Moses Malone signed with the Philadelphia 76ers last year.
''A number of top experts tell me that Bird is the best basketball player ever to play the game, and I believe the new owners concur,'' Woolf said, expressing hope that the Celtics would be rewarding Bird ''with a contract commensurate with his skill.''
Unlike the Malone contract, which reportedly included $350,000 a year in incentive bonuses, the Bird negotiations are said to have focused on a fully guaranteed contractwithout such bonuses.
Camp Opens This Week
Woolf said he expected a final agreement before the opening of the Celtics' training camp this week, the deadline Bird has set for concluding a new agreement with the Celtics. He is entering the last year of a five-year, $650,000-a-year contract and has said that he would not negotiate with the Celtics once training camp begins but would instead pursue free agency next year.
Meanwhile, Robert Parish, the Celtics' center, threatened to stay out of training camp, which begins Friday, unless the club renegotiates his $650,000-a-year contract.
Parish's new agent, Wayne Traynham, met with Celtic officials yesterday but neither side was immediately available for comment. Parish has three years remaining on his currentcontract.