By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 48 – February 1, 1976The Braves trade Gar Heard and a second-round draft choice in 1975 (Al Fleming) to Phoenix for John Shumate.

Gar Heard proved to be a great fit when he was acquired by the Braves in 1973. In 1973-74, he averaged about 35 minutes a game in his first season, and scored about 15 points per game – both career highs.  Heard was one of five Braves’ starters to average in double figures in scoring – the first team ever to do that.

The problem was that Heard was only 6-6, which made him a bit undersized in the NBA as a power forward. Since center Bob McAdoo didn’t hang out around the basket that often, the Braves had some rebounding problems in certain situations. That was the reasoning for the deal that sent Heard to Phoenix for John Shumate, a bigger forward.

Shumate never averaged more rebounds per game than he did as a Brave, almost 10 per game. He was sent to the Pistons in the ill-fated Marvin Barnes deal less than two years later. Heard landed in Phoenix, and was part of the team that reached the NBA Finals in 1976. You might remember his game-tying, long-distance shot at the buzzer that tied Game Five of that series with the Celtics. Boston won that game – one the best in NBA history – in three overtimes, and then captured the title.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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