The Boston Celtics announced Monday that they reached an agreement in principle with star forward Larry Bird to extend his contract through the 1991-92 National Basketball Assn. season.
The extension calls for Bird to be paid his current contract salary of $1.8 million this season and an average of $3.4 million annually in the final 3 years of the contract.
Bird’s attorney, Bob Woolf, said the agreement will put Bird among the NBA’s five highest-paid players.
Bird, whose contract would have expired after 2 more seasons, was pleased with the extension and is glad the negotiations are over, Woolf said.
“He’s probably the best basketball player in the league and he’s certainly being compensated,” Woolf said. “It puts him among the highest paid in the league. It’s appropriate with his stature in the league.”
Bird had complained about the delays in getting the extension.
“He’s very pleased with it,” Woolf said. “We’re both glad it’s over. Everybody (the Celtics organization) got on the ball, and we got it over with.”
Arriving a day late for the opener of this season’s training camp, Bird was quoted as saying that if a new contract agreement was not reached before the upcoming season he would retire at the end of the current pact.
“Larry would never play for anybody but the Celtics,” Woolf said. “We’re thrilled he’s going to play a couple of extra years. He’s my next-door neighbor and I want him there as long as I can keep him.”
But Woolf said Bird is planning to retire after the 1992 season.
Bird, 31, is entering his 10th year with the Celtics. He was rookie of the year in 1980 as a first-round draft pick out of Indiana State.
Last season, Bird played in 76 games and was third in the NBA in scoring, averaging 29.9 points per game. He was second in free-throw percentage, with a .916 average, and third in 3-point shot accuracy, averaging .414.