Larry Bird was a basketball legend in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He was a huge member of the Boston Celtics, and he was arguably the best player of his era. In 1987, however, Bird was traded to the Lakers. He was a hero in Boston, and the move was a shock to the people of Boston.
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In 1987, the Boston Celtics traded their leading scorer, Larry Bird, to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for a set of draft picks. Bird thanked the city of Boston and proclaimed the trade a victory for the Celtics, but he was far from pleased with his former team, the San Antonio Spurs. As stated by the Boston Herald, Bird was “miffed” by the trade, and he went on to give the Spurs a pep talk prior to the start of a game against them.. Read more about 1986 nba finals and let us know what you think.
Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics had a strong chance of facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals for the 1986-87 season. The Celtics had just won the NBA championship after defeating the Houston Rockets in six games the year before. After being ousted by the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers were hungry.
The Lakers appeared in the NBA Finals five times from 1980 and 1986, while the Celtics did it four times. The San Antonio Spurs executed a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in February 1987 that didn’t sit well with Bird and the Celtics.
In 1987, Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics were looking for a repeat victory.
On March 18, 1987, Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics and Junior Bridgeman of the Milwaukee Bucks react to a dropped ball during an NBA basketball game at Boston Garden in Boston. | Getty Images/Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe
The Celtics completed the 86-87 season with a 59-23 record, which was the best in the Eastern Conference. They were a dominating team, but their bench was very weak. Boston made short work of the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, led by perhaps the greatest frontcourt in basketball in Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. The Celtics then defeated the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons in a seven-game series to win the title.
The Boston starters pushed the club into the playoffs, particularly with reserve center Bill Walton out. In fact, the starters combined for 105 of the Celtics’ 109 points in a 109-103 victory against the Lakers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Off the bench, Darren Daye and Fred Roberts both had a field goal.
Only three Celtics backups appeared in Game 4, which the Lakers won 107-106. They played for a total of 25 minutes and scored four points.
The Celtics brought in Walton the previous season, who filled in for Parish and gave them valuable minutes. Walton played 24 minutes and scored six points in the series against the Lakers.
After a February 1987 trade with the Lakers, Larry Bird was dissatisfied with the Spurs.
It wasn’t the most significant deal, but it might have helped the Lakers beat the Celtics in the 1987 NBA Finals. The Lakers completed a deal to bolster their frontcourt and bench in preparation for a playoff run.
In exchange for Petur Gudmundsson, Frank Brickowski, a first-round selection (Greg Anderson), a second-round pick in 1990 (Sean Higgins), and cash, the Lakers acquired 6-foot-11 center Mychal Thompson from the Spurs. It may seem to be a lot, but it was a lot of nothing in return for a man who spelt Kareem Abdul-Jabbar correctly.
Bird was not pleased with the transaction.
According to Sports Illustrated, Bird stated, “If San Antonio needed money, we would’ve given them money.” “However, to go out of your way to assist the Lakers like that is simply terrible.”
Walton underwent ankle surgery in December and there was no word on when he will be back. The Lakers rushed in and made their move, giving them a significant edge against Boston’s reserves in the frontcourt.
Mychal Thompson was instrumental in the Lakers’ championship victory.
Without Walton, the Celtics struggled. Greg Kite was the team’s lone big guy off the bench, and he wasn’t much of a danger offensively. The Lakers rode Thompson for 37 minutes in their series-clinching Game 6 win against the Celtics. He had 15 points and nine rebounds in the game.
Walton was a non-factor in the game, scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds in 10 minutes.
The Celtics’ bench has been a source of contention all season. McHale even joked about Boston’s lack of depth at a February meeting with the Denver Nuggets. In a 119-105 victory, McHale scored the team’s first 11 points.
McHale said, “The game plan was for me to score the first hundred and twelve, but I got a bit weary.”
The Thompson trade enabled the Lakers capitalize on their lack of depth, and it paid out in the shape of a championship.
Isiah Thomas Remembers Larry Bird’s Game-Turning Steal in the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals
In a move that shocked the basketball world, Larry Bird traded one of his best players, Charles Barkley, to the Los Angeles Lakers. While the move was seen as a strange one at the time, the Celtics were able to break the Lakers’ stranglehold on the NBA title over the next few years.. Read more about when did larry bird retire and let us know what you think.
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