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What is the best trade in Boston sports history? Getting Robert Parish and a draft pick that turned into Kevin McHale from the Warriors for the first overall pick in 1980 that turned into Joe Barry Carroll has to be up there. – Eric S.
Ah, yes, Joe Barely Cares, as coined by the incomparable Peter Vescey. Yep, that was obviously a historically lopsided trade – the Celtics took McHale with the No. 3 overall pick they got back from the Warriors in the deal – but it’s not the best trade in Boston history. It’s not even the best trade in Celtics history, or in Red Auerbach’s history of heists.
Before we get to that, a few honorable mentions in the best trade in Boston history category.
Bruins: Acquired Cam Neely from the Canucks in 1986 for Barry Pederson … Acquired Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, and Fred Stanfield from the Blackhawks in 1967 for Pit Martin, Gilles Marotte and other assorted parts … traded goalie Ron Grahame to the Kings for a 1978 first-round pick that turned into Raymond Bourque.
Red Sox: Acquired P Pedro Martinez from the Expos for pitching prospects Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. … traded P Heathcliff Slocumb to the Mariners for P Derek Lowe and C Jason Varitek … acquired P Curt Schilling from the Diamondbacks in December 2003 for 003 for pitchers Jorge de la Rosa, Casey Fossum, and Brandon Lyon, and OF Mike Goss. … traded Ps Rick Wise and Mike Paxton, catcher Bo Diaz, and third baseman Ted Cox to the Indians in March 1978 for P Dennis Eckersley.
Patriots: Acquired WR Randy Moss from Oakland in 2007 for a fourth-round pick … traded second- and seventh-round picks to the Dolphins in 2007 for WR Wes Welker … traded a second-round pick to the Bengals before the 2004 season for running back Corey Dillon … traded up in the second round of the 2010 draft to take tight end Rob Gronkowski … traded QB Jim Plunkett to the 49ers for two 1976 first-round picks and a first- and second-rounder in 1977. The Patriots chose Pete Brock, Tim Fox, Raymond Clayborn, and Horace Ivory with those picks.
Celtics: Acquired Kevin Garnett from the Timberwolves in 2007 for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, and two first-round picks. … acquired Jayson Tatum (the No. 3 pick in the 2017 draft) and a No. 1 pick in 2019 from the Sixers for No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz. … traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, D.J. White and a pair of draft picks to the Nets in 2014 for five inconsequential players, three first-round picks, and the rights to swap first-round picks in another season … traded C Rick Robey and a pair of first-round picks to the Suns in 1983 for G Dennis Johnson.
As for the best trade, well, if you know your Celtics history, you know the answer, and it’s actually a pair of trades connected in order to acquire a specific player: On April 30, 1956, Auerbach traded Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to the St. Louis Hawks for the No. 2 pick in the draft. To ensure that they got the player they wanted, Celtics owner Walter Brown sent one week of the Ice Capades to the Rochester Royals – who had the No. 1 pick – so they wouldn’t take a center from the University of San Francisco named Bill Russell.
Rochester, apparently in need of that lucrative Ice Capades revenue, agreed, and took Si Green with the No. 1 overall pick. Russell, of course, became the fulcrum of the Celtics dynasty and the most accomplished winner in the history of team sports. Hopefully, the Ice Capades gave Rochester a good show.
But what does everyone else think? What was the best trade in the history of Boston team sports? I’ll hear you in the comments.