BOSTON — Speculation about which current Celtics player may be going elsewhere has abounded leading up to the imminent March 15 NBA trade deadline. But there have been a few noteworthy trading block hits and misses over past decades.
In the spring of 1956, Celtics Coach and General Manager Red Auerbach reluctantly traded future Hall-of-Famers Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to St. Louis for the Hawks’ second round draft pick, Bill Russell. In 1957, the rookie lead Boston to its first ever NBA title.
The Hawks countered the following year by winning their first and only championship. In 1958, it appeared an even deal. But the Celtics, with Russell as their defensive anchor, captured the flag in each of the next eight seasons. They tacked on another two championships in the late 60’s just for good measure. Advantage: Celtics.
In early 1979, the New York Knicks traded forward Bob McAdoo to the Celtics for little-used forward Tom Barker and three first round draft picks without the knowledge or consent of General Manager Red Auerbach. Red was so disgusted with Celtics ownership that he almost followed the lost draft picks to New York. McAdoo pouted on the bench for half of a miserable 29 and 53 season.
Former Kentucky governor and then Celtics owner John Y. Brown reportedly made the clandestine trade because the object of his affections, former Miss America Phyllis George, liked the high-scoring McAdoo.
That catastrophic loss of Celtics draft picks is rarely brought up around these parts, where people have been known to closely follow each major and minor battle in the ongoing New England versus New York sports conflict. That’s because New York won that round.
Early last year, the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins, the starting center on the 2008 championship team, to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green, who has since undergone heart surgery and may play elsewhere next season. The Celtics’ struggles might have been lessened this season had Perkins remained on the roster.
Maybe that’s why when he learned of the trade, the 6 foot 10, 280 pound center openly wept. Perhaps he knew a bad trade immediately after he learned of it.