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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Moses departs

   October 24, 1976 -- One of the briefest yet most significant tenures in Buffalo Braves' history came to an end on this date. Moses Malone, who had been acquired less than a week before, was traded on this date to the Houston Rockets for draft choices.

   Malone had had quite an odyssey in basketball before he ever got here. He was supposed to go to the University of Maryland after graduating from high school, but instead he jumped to Utah of the American Basketball Association. Malone also played for St. Louis in the ABA.

   When that league folded, Portland took him in the dispersal draft. But the Blazers already had a center named Bill Walton. Malone came to Buffalo from Portland on Oct. 18 as an insurance policy for a contract dispute involving Bob McAdoo. Malone asked for a guarantee of 24 minutes per game, which considering Malone went to the Hall of Fame doesn't seem that unusual.

   But the Braves couldn't make it work out, and Malone left after playing only two games. His stay became a team oddity on a team that had its share of them.

   "If we had kept that one club together, maybe we could have won the championship," former Braves executive Bob MacKinnon said years later. "We had Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo, [John] Shumate and [Adrian] Dantley, all on one club. To let that slip through our hands was very poor."

--- Budd Bailey

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