By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 58: October 18, 1976 – The Braves trade a first-round draft choice in 1978 (Rick Robey) to Portland for Moses Malone.
Utah and St. Louis weren’t included in the 1976 merger between the National Basketball Association and the American Basketball Association, so a dispersal draft was held of those teams’ players. The story of this deal begins here, as the Portland Trail Blazers picked Moses Malone. It was insurance against another injury for its own center, Bill Walton.
However, Walton was playing the best basketball of his career in 1976-77, so the Blazers didn’t need Malone, who was also expensive. Meanwhile, the Braves were having trouble getting Bob McAdoo to sign a new contract. Buffalo shipped a first-round pick to get Malone.
This would have been one of the greatest trades in Buffalo’s sports history if the Braves knew what they had in Malone. But they didn’t. His departure merits its own entry on this list.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)