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Celtics coach Doc Rivers was traded to the Clippers for a first-round pick this week in a deal that should work for all involved. It allows Rivers to avoid an expected rebuilding process in Boston, the Celtics to stock up on young players and Los Angeles to acquire a proven coach.

Although unusual, it's hardly the first time a coach was traded.

In 1960, the Tigers traded manager Jimmy Dykes to the Indians for their manager, Joe Gordon. In 1977, A's manager Chuck Tanner was shipped to the Pirates for catcher Manny Sanguillen. In 2002, Seattle sent skipper Lou Piniella to Tampa Bay for outfielder Randy Winn.

Bill Belichik was effectively traded when the Jets were awarded three draft picks after he left the organization for the Patriots. New England ended up with Belichick and two draft picks. Two years later, the Raiders received four draft picks and cash as compensation when Jon Gruden left for Tampa Bay.

John Tortorella and Alain Vigneault weren't traded for one another, but they ended up swapping teams. Tortorella took over the Canucks this week after Vigneault replaced him with the Rangers. More trades are expected with the NHL Draft this weekend, but none are expected to involve coaches.

By the way, no player has ever been traded for a bag of pucks. However, former pitcher Tim Fortugno was once traded for a bag of baseballs.

The Milwaukee Brewers purchased Fortugno for 12 dozen balls and $2,500 from the Reno Silver Sox in 1989. If Fortugno is known for anything other than that trade, it's for pitching for the Angels when he gave up George Brett's 3,000th career hit. Moments later, he picked off Brett at first base.

In 1998, minor-league pitcher Ken Krahenbuhl was sent from the Pacific Suns to the Greenville Bluesmen in the Western Baseball League for a player to be named later and 10 pounds of catfish. Krahenbuhl ended up throwing a perfect game in his first start with the Bluesmen.

“The Suns could have gotten some players in exchange for me to help their ballclub instead of stinking catfish, but they just don't care,” he told the Associated Press at the time. “They traded me for catfish. Can you believe that?”

Winnipeg traded Kris Draper to Detroit for $1. He won four Stanley Cups and the Selke Trophy over 17 seasons with the Red Wings.

Here are five other strange but true sports transactions:

• Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who won a record 511 games, was traded from Boston to Cleveland for $250 and a new suit in 1908.

• Major leaguers Dickie Noles and Harry Chiti were traded for themselves. They were each shipped out for a player to be named later and returned to their former teams as the player who was named later.

• In 1983, Tom Martin from Seattle to Victoria in the Western Hockey League for a bus and future considerations.

• In 1922, the Cardinals and Cubs traded outfielders Max Flack and Cliff Heathcote between games of a doubleheader against one another. Both collected hits against their former teams in the second game.

• In 1986, Fred Roberts from Utah to Boston for two preseason games in which the defending champion Celtics would agree to play the Jazz.

Imagine what the Bills could have acquired for a few of their coaches. A case of beer for Hank Bullough? A box of tape for Dick Jauron? Either would have been a steal.

Cashman's mind games

Brian Cashman apologized for cursing while telling Alex Rodriguez to shut the bleep up, but something tells me the comment was carefully orchestrated by the Yankees general manager. It appears Cashman is searching for any means possible to avoid paying the third baseman's $28 million salary. He denies it, of course.

In case you missed it, Cashman reacted after A-Rod said, via Twitter, that he had been cleared to start playing games as part of his rehab. Cashman made it clear that the Yankees would provide updates on A-Rod's health when they deemed necessary and after team doctors, not his own, cleared him to play.

Cashman had 22.4 million reasons for his outburst, one for every dollar they can save through an insurance policy that pays 80 percent of A-Rod's contract while he's injured. The Yanks haven't figured out how to dump him, so they're making it clear he's not wanted. If he retires, they would save $84 million of the $105 million left on his deal.

Sharapova under stress

Maybe she simply had a bad day, but you have to wonder if Maria Sharapova's early exit from Wimbledon was somehow related to her feud with Serena Williams going into the tournament. Sharapova was bounced from the second round after falling to Michelle Larcher de Brito in straight sets.

Sharapova already was angry with Williams, who beat her in the French Open final, for comments made in Rolling Stone magazine about Sharapova's relationship with Grigor Dimitrov. He happens to be … Williams' ex-boyfriend. Williams reportedly is dating tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who is in the middle of a divorce.

Williams created a stir during a television interview while commenting on a Steubenville, Ohio, rape case. The case involved two high school football players who were accused of assaulting a 16-year-old drunk girl while others watched and texted friends with details.

“I'm not blaming the girl,” Williams said, “but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you; don't take drinks from other people.”

Williams apologized for the comments and later made contact with the girl and her family to explain her remarks. In a news conference before Wimbledon, Sharapova pounced.

“If she wants to talk about something personal,” Sharapova said, “maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids.”

Bolts do the right thing

It will sting for a while, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman made the right call when deciding to spend $32.67 million buying out the final seven years of veteran star Vincent Lecavalier's contract. In truth, Stevie Y had little choice.

Lecavalier's no-movement clause, big contract and slip in production made him an immovable object on the Bolts' payroll in recent years. They couldn't justify keeping him and had virtually no chance of finding another team that would trade for him. Basically, it came down to damage control.

The amnesty clause included in the latest collective bargaining agreement offered an opportunity – likely the only opportunity – to get him off their payroll. Tampa Bay will gain relief from his $7.72 million salary-cap figure without being penalized, which gives Yzerman more flexibility

Lecavalier will receive his full $8 million bonus, with the rest being paid out over the next 14 years. It's a nice haul for a player who also has more options. He can sign another contract for less money and extend his career. Don't be surprised if he lands in Montreal.

Stats Inc.

27 – Victories in the past two years for Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer, who has won two more games over that span than 2011 Cy Young winner and teammate Justin Verlander.

11 – NBA players who were drafted first overall and were named Most Valuable Player during their careers, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six times) and LeBron James (four).

125.5 – Average ranking of Steve Darcis (135), who upset Rafael Nadal, and Sergiy Stakhovsky (116), who beat Roger Federer, in the first two rounds of Wimbledon.

Quotable

South Buffalo native Patrick Kane, on the Stanley Cup, during an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman: “You're lifting 35 pounds, but it feels like nothing.”

Quick hits

• If you're wondering why Tiger Woods wore red golf shirts on Sundays, it's a superstition that goes back to big events in junior golf. It continued when he attended Stanford, which has red as its dominant color. Said Tiger earlier this week: “I've had a few wins wearing red, and it's not going to change.”

• For all the questions about whether Dwight Howard would be willing to stay with the Lakers, here's another one: Why would they want to keep him? He's certainly not worth the extra $30 million the Lakers can pay him over five years. He's not even worth $88 million over five years that other teams can pay him.

• Anyone who has ever suffered a serious rib injury could appreciate the pain Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron endured during Game Six against the Blackhawks. He also played through a separated shoulder and, as it turned out, a punctured lung. Amazing.

email: bgleason@buffnews.com