Larry Bird may not be "the franchise" for the Boston Celtics, but check this: Indiana State's Mr. Basketball wants $6 million in a six-year contract with the club of which Harry Mangurian has just become sole owner by buying out partner John Y. Brown's half interest for less than $5 million.

Nothing official, but those were the figures tossed around The Hub as Bird's agent, Boston attorney Bob Woolf, huddled with Celtic prexy Red Auerbach, for three hours to start negotiations.

A million a year, Mr. Woolf? Why not, he replied, "the Celtics need Bird."

A half-million a year you're offering for the six year, Mr. Auerbach? That's about it-"Bird is in desperate need of us . . ."

Al McGuire again: heading into serious (his characterization) talks with NBA's Chi Bulls about a job-nobody's saying yet it would be administrative or coaching . . .

The ranks thin: Al Evans, a catcher for Washington's Senators 1939-50, born in Kenly, N.C., 1916, died in Kenly last Friday. He batted 250 in 692 games for the Nats and 12 games for '51 Red Sox . . .

Ray Leonard, only just signed to fight North American junior welterweight titlist Adolfo Viruett in Vegas April 218 has accepted a May 20 bout (national TV, sure) for more Sugat in Baton Rouge against North Aemerican junior middleweight champ Tony Chiaverini of K.C. (who must take the 147-pound welter limit) . . .

Palnned inflation, NFL styel:

Pro football has commission Byron Donzis, the Houston inventor who made the Dan Pastorini flax jacket, to put together a revolutionary uniform designed to speed, as AP nicely puts it, end of "the day of the dangerous human projectile on a football field."

Donzis, using new materials and ideas, some adapted from the space program, is working on inflatable equipment that would reduce weight of full NFL combat regalia from 24 pounds to less than three pounds; a soft-shelled helmet to replace the hrd hat - and, nirvana?, a computerized knee brade - a way to go to develop this item-to guard against the gamehs most common and often most crippling injuries.

"The NFL asked," he said, "that we keep off any hard material from the shoulders on down . . . I'm a anxious for children to be able to use the (the gear) as well as professional players. We're in an all-out, concerted effort to isolate injuries. If we can't, a lot of people are going to be playing soccer in the future." . . .

On the other side of safety, baseball's St. Louis Cardinals needn't have threatened that protest voiced by Manager Ken Boyer, the Pittsburgn Pirates respond to their incoming Thursday visitos. Dave Parker already had ditched the face-guard helmet he's continued wearing at this season's start, long months after his crushed cheekbone healed.

"After Saturdays game when he had a close play a home plate (jarring the ball out of Expo cather Gary Carter's grash to score the winning run against Montreal)," a Buc spokesperson said, "Parker said he wan't going to wear the helmet again. On Sunday, the bat boy came out with the helmet and he threw it away."