The Los Angeles Lakers traded suspended forward Kermit Washington and guard Don Chaney to the Boston Celtics for guard Charlie Scott yesterday in a deal that both clubs feel will help straighten out so-far-disappointing seasons.
Boston general manager Red Auerbach said the transaction was the "first in a series of moves to turn the season around" for his club. The Lakers got more immediate help.
Scott, who has a career average of 22.8 points, will strengthen L.A. at guard, which, coach Jerry West admitted has been a headache. "The addition of Scott marks the beginning of our second season." Scott is averaging 16 points this season.
He will step into a lineup that already includes all-stars Adrian Dantley, Jamaal Wilkes and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The akers obtained Dantley from Indiana earlier this month.
Washington's inclusion in the trade was a surprise. He cannot play for at least two months after being suspended for punching Rudy Tomjanovich two two weeks ago. When the two months are up, NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien will decide whether Washington will have to sit out the rest of the season.
NBA sources say a Scott-for-Washington trade was nearly consummated just prior to the Tomjanovich incident.
When he is eligible, Washington should give Dave Cowens the kind of rebounding help the Boston center says he needs. Washington also makes Sidney Wicks more expendable, although he has been on the trading block for weeks, as has Scott.
"Washington was the key, a big man, a board banger who can help Cowens," said coach Tom Heinsohn.
The Celtics, 10-22 on the year, wanted to unload Scott once Auerbach and Heinsohn decided he no longer was compatible with fellow guard Jo Jo White.
"I've got oil and water in the backcourt and algae (Wicks) eating away at both," Heinsohn said last week. "Something has to be done about it."
Scott came to Boston in a controversial deal with Phoenix for Paul Westphal. Scott played on the Celtics' title team in 1976 but broke an arm last January and missed all but a few of the remaining 1976-77 games. Meanwhile, Westphal developed into one of the league's most consistent scoring guards.
Chaney was a defensive standout with the Celtics on their 1974 championship team. But he left after the tract with the St. Louis Spirits of the 1974-75 season to sign a lucrative con-ABA, prompting Boston to trade for Scott.
Last year, Chaney led the Lakers in steals and was third in assists while averaging six points a game. He missed part of this season with an injury and was a prime candidate to be released this week when rookie guard Brad Davis returned from the injured list.
The Lakers, 14-18 going into last night's game with Golden State, got off to a slow start when Abdul-Jabbar broke his hand punching Milwaukee's Kent Benson in the opening game. In the Dantley deal, the Lakers traded starting guard Earl Tatum and since have started veteran Lou Hudson in his place. Scott now will take over that position.