Maxwell for Walton? Not so Fast

June 25, 1985


The Celtics' attempt to trade Cedric Maxwell to the Los Angeles Clippers for Bill Walton ran into a roadblock yesterday that threatens the whole deal.

"We are still going to try to put it together," said president Red Auerbach after being informed that Maxwell failed a physical examination given by Dr. Tony Daley, the Clippers' team physican, in Los Angeles Tuesday.

"They told us their doctor said there was nothing structurally wrong with Maxwell's knee, which is what we have been saying all along," Auerbach continued, "but the quadricep (thigh) muscles in the injured leg have not developed as well as the one in his good leg and this is what they are concerned about."

Daley, after the exam, told Clipper general manager Carl Scheer that Maxwell's knee, operated on Feb. 22, has not been rehabilitated properly. This caused Scheer to throw out the red flag.

Reports have it that Clipper coach Don Chaney, who was with the Celtics at the start of Maxwell's career, is pushing to get Cedric on his club, but that Scheer is skeptical, not wanting to give up Walton for what might be damaged goods.

Walton has said publicly he would like to play for the Lakers or the Celtics. Sources say that Laker general manager Jerry West has entered the picture, telling Scheer not to make a move until they have a chance to talk about Walton at the annual league meetings in San Diego this weekend.

"We are still planning to talk with Walton and Scheer out there," said Auerbach. "We still want to put this thing together and I think we can do it. This thing with Maxwell is no big deal. In fact, the Clippers wanted our permission to keep him out there for three weeks to go through a rehabilitation program. I told them we wanted him back in Boston and we'd put him through a rehabilitation program of our own."

Maxwell reportedly was happy after first meeting with Chaney and being told he could become a big part of the Clippers' future. That was before he took the physical, which was to be one of the many steps needed to complete the deal. Next, if he wants to do it, Walton will be asked to take a physical examination. Walton is now a free agent.

If both Maxwell and Walton are accepted by the doctors, the teams will start talking money. Believe it or not, Maxwell makes more ($800,000 range) than Walton, who plays for a base salary of $200,000 but has incentive clauses that can bring him into the $1 million area. The clauses are pegged to attendance, games and minutes played and other goals.

Last year some statisticians figured that Walton was the most productive player in the league in terms of rebounds and points per minute. He played just under 24 minutes a game, averaging l0 points and 8 rebounds in what amounts to half a game.

Walton prefers either the Lakers or the Celtics because he feels he has just one or two years left to play and wants to be part of another championship team before retiring. He has been quoted as saying he can still play between 20 to 25 minutes a game and be productive, just what the Celtics want to back up Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

The Celtics might have to pay some of Maxwell's contract, yet handle Walton's new contract so they can fit under the Celtics' salary cap.

Each team has a player payroll limit, and the Celtics are just about at the top. However, by unloading Maxwell and dispatching one of their veteran guard who will become expendable with the drafting of Sam Vincent, the Celtics should make enough financial room for Walton.

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