The Clippers traded forward Cedric Maxwell to the Houston Rockets Friday for two draft choices.
Maxwell, a 10-year veteran who played his first eight seasons with the Boston Celtics, was named the 1981 championship series’ Most Valuable Player when the Celtics beat the Rockets.
The 31-year-old Maxwell played for current Rockets Coach Bill Fitch in Boston. The Clippers will receive Houston’s first-round pick in the 1987 draft and a third-round choice in 1988.
“He’s the kind of free spirit we need on the court,” Rockets General Manager Pay Patterson said of Maxwell. “Also, having him will give (small forward) Rodney McCray some help.”
The trade was announced before Houston’s game in Detroit against the Pistons. The 6-foot-8 Maxwell was to join the Rockets Sunday in Boston.
It had been reported earlier the Rockets would send center Dave Feitl, forward Richard Anderson and two draft choices to the Clippers for Maxwell and guards Darnell Valentine and Lancaster Gordon. But Patterson said the deal could not be worked out because of salary cap restrictions.
The Rockets need the most help at guard. Tuesday, guards Lewis Lloyd and Mitchell Wiggins, the club’s fourth- and fifth-leading scorers, were banned from the NBA for at least two years after testing positive for cocaine.
Patterson said the Rockets were “not through trading.”
Maxwell, who played in college for North Carolina Charlotte, was drafted by the Celtics in 1977 when he was the 12th choice overall. He entered the season averaging 13.7 points and 7 rebounds per game.
Maxwell, who led the NBA in field-goal percentage in 1979 and 1980, was traded to the Clippers in 1985 along with a first-round draft choice and cash, for center Bill Walton.