When Mike Morrison goes to work tomorrow morning in preseason camp with the Bullets, he'll be smiling.
"The Suns could have let me go through the training camp and then waived me early in the season," said the former Loyola College star. "They could have left me out there on my own, but they didn't. They worked something out and I couldn't be happier, being with the Bullets."
The Bullets are still trying to sign shooting guard Ledell Eackles, who is demanding an $8 million contract. With Eackles unsigned and unproven as a starter, the Bullets are looking at every option.
Friday, they completed a trade with the Phoenix Suns that brings Morrison here in return for a second-round pick in 1993, if he makes the team.
The shooting guard spot has become a wide-open shootout following the trade that sent the team's leading scorer, Jeff Malone, to Utah for Pervis Ellison.
Right now, the Bullets have veteran Steve Colter, whose best attribute may be his adeptness at community relations, and rookie A.J. English from Virginia Union, who is guaranteed a roster spot.
Morrison, 23, saw little playing time with the Suns, but Bullets general manager John Nash was impressed by his hustle in the Professional Summer League in Los Angeles in 1989 and saw no reason to change his mind during Morrison's performance in that league again this past summer.
"I think Mike was just a victim of the numbers game in Phoenix," Nash said. "We don't have a proven two guard coming to camp, so Mike will get every opportunity."
Morrison, 6 feet 4, 198 pounds, had the option of reporting with the veterans this Friday, but has chosen instead to report to the training camp at Mount St. Mary's with the rookies and free agents tomorrow.
"I want to get started," said Morrison, who played his high school ball just a short drive from the Capital Centre at Northwestern in Hyattsville. "I think my chances are as good as anyone's to make this team, and I'm going to give it everything I've got.
"I'm glad to have a chance. I know a lot about the Bullets. I've been a fan of theirs ever since I was a kid and I know Wes Unseld likes hard workers."
Morrison also thinks Unseld's approach is the right one.
"I think they'll probably like my effort," Morrison said. "I'm a coachable player, a competitor and I'm willing to do anything they want -- get loose balls, rebound, score. If they need points, I can produce them."
In Phoenix, no one got to see much of the talent that made Morrison Loyola's third all-time scorer (1,697 points). He was the Suns' second-round draft choice in 1989.
During training camp he dislocated the index finger on his shooting hand. He then dislocated that same finger every day during camp, until he was finally put on the disabled list.
He played 153 minutes in 36 games, after being activated Dec. 6 and before returning to the disabled list with a back injury April 7. He averaged two points a game, with a season-high 11 points in 24 minutes against Houston.
"What do I think of my two-point average?" he said. "I think I didn't work hard enough. It had nothing to do with the coach or the system or the other players. If I had worked harder, maybe those two points could be 22 points.
"I'm not like a lot of people. I don't have an attitude. I don't go around saying it was the coach or I didn't get enough playing time. I just think I have to make the most of the time I'm given."
Tomorrow, Unseld will give Mike Morrison his first opportunity with the Bullets.