Four more years! Kevin McHale has elected to remain a Boston Celtic for that duration--starting as the highest-paid player in the annals of the National Basketball Association's most prestigious team, at a reported $1 million a year (not counting undisclosed deferred payments).

"Starting," we say, because how much Celtic green will it take to keep Larry Bird satisfied now?

New York reportedly dangled $3.6 million for three years in its offer sheet for free agent McHale--and precipitated the war in which Boston jacked up the Knicks' payroll with offer sheets of its own to Marvin Webster, Sly Williams and Rory Sparrow, which New York matched.

"I think it's obvious now," says McHale's agent, John Sandquist, "that all along Kevin's priority was not how much money he could get but that he could stay with the Celtics. He really loves Boston."

Plus being No. 4 in the NBA in salary: the 6-11 usually nonstarter trails only Moses Malone, Julius Erving and Sandquist client Jack Sikma . . .

The Bullets' annual Capital Centre preseason doubleheader is set for Oct. 21; San Antonio Spurs-Knicks at 6:30, Washington-Atlanta Hawks at 9. That will climax a seven-game Bullets' exhibition slate that starts in Baton Rouge, La., Oct. 9 (vs. Atlanta) and includes three other meetings with the Spurs, the last Oct. 22 in Norfolk.