By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 59: September 1, 1977 – The Braves trade Mike Bantom and Adrian Dantley to Indiana for Billy Knight.
Adrian Dantley was always a somewhat odd fit on a basketball court. He was 6-foot-5, which was respectable for a small forward, yet he played like a power forward. Dantley was one of the great scorers in the history of Notre Dame, and that attracted the attention of the Braves. Buffalo made him a No. 1 draft choice in 1976.
Dantley moved into the starting lineup and was named rookie of the year for 1976-77 while averaging 20.3 points per game. But before the next season, Braves owner John Y. Brown had his heart set on adding Billy Knight. Brown remembered Knight’s scoring skills when they were both associated with the American Basketball Association; the leagues merged in the summer of ’76.
Dantley and forward Mike Bantom went to Indiana for Knight. The Braves found out that Knight was still a fine player, averaging 22.9 points a game before suffering a knee injury. He did have several productive seasons after returning to Indiana. Dantley did some bouncing around, but he scored wherever he played. The forward averaged more than 26 points per game in all six of his seasons with Utah. Dantley finished his career with 34,151 points, and that’s why he went into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)