By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 58: October 18, 1976The 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)

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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