Boston Celtics General Manager Red Auerbach announced today the National Basketball Association team has broken off negotiations with college player-of-the year Larry Bird after offering to make the Indiana State star the highest-paid rookie in professional sports.
Bird's attorney, Bob Woolf, and Auerbach met for about 90 minutes at the Celtics' office, the fourth time they have discussed a contract for Bird.
Woolf said he "dramatically modified" his original demand of $1 million a year for six years for Bird and that the meeting was amicable. He said there was nothing from Auerbach to indicate negotiations would cease.
"I dramatically modified our request to conform to existing situations," Woolf said."He (Auerbach) said he wasn't going to change his offer. We just shook hands and left."
Auerbach had countered with an offer of $3 million over six years, or $500,000 a year.
Woolf refused to say how far down he had come or how far apart the two sides were.
"I don't think it looks good for our getting Larry," said Jeff Cohen, the Celtic vice president.
Woolf accused Auerbach of making "implied threats and intimidation" and said he planned to meet Wednesday with the NBA Players Association to protest the case. Bird was the Celtics' No. 1 draft choice last year.
Bird was not at the meeting between Auerbach and Woolf.