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Reggie Lewis Signed Up by Celtics for 5 Years

August 23, 1990|MICHAEL ARACE | HARTFORD COURANT

BOSTON — Reggie Lewis said he was shocked that a deal was worked out so quickly. He's not the only one.

It's official now. The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday that they have signed Lewis to a five-year contract that will keep the 6-foot-7 forward in Boston through the 1995-96 season. Although no terms were announced, the deal is believed to be worth about $3 million per year.

"I'm happy because the terms were what we agreed upon," Lewis said. "They were just right."

Work on the contract began Monday morning when Dave Gavitt, Celtics operations chief, and General Manager Jan Volk met with Lewis' agent, Jerome Stanley.

A day went by. Lewis held a news conference to make it clear that his priority was to "do the right thing" for himself when his contract expired in 1991. Re-signing with the Celtics, Lewis said, might not necessarily be the right thing.

And yet, one room away in the Celtics offices, a contract was worked out.

"I didn't think we'd reached an agreement at all. I had something to take care of, and that was addressing the press," Lewis said. "I don't even think Jerome knew (I was speaking to the media)."

About 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Stanley came to Lewis with a piece of paper with some numbers on it.

"Would those numbers make you happy?" Stanley said.

"Yes," Lewis said.

Lewis will make $450,000 this season, the final year of a three-year contract. The highest-paid Celtic is Larry Bird, who will make $1.5 million, and--with bonuses--more than $7 million in 1991-92.

Happy was the word of the day Wednesday. Lewis likes his numbers. And considering that Dino Radja sneaked through a loophole in his contract to play in Italy--and that Brian Shaw has been in limbo for months--the Celtics must be ecstatic that they finally accomplished something.

"We wouldn't reach an agreement unless we were happy," Volk said. "And Reggie has made it clear that he wouldn't have agreed unless he was happy."

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