EMMITSBURG -- The Washington Bullets, speculating that veteran forward John Williams will not be physically ready for the opening of training camp tomorrow morning, have expressed interest in rookie forward Jayson Williams of St.John's.
Jayson Williams was the No. 1 draft pick of the Phoenix Suns, but after considerable contract haggling, he has been offered a minimum one-year contract of $170,000.
"Jayson has several options," Suns president Jerry Colangelo said. "He can report to our camp, but I don't think that's in the cards. He can sit out this NBA season, but we would still retain his rights. The same is true if he plays in Europe this year. Finally, we could trade his rights. If anyone's interested, they can call."
Bullets general manager John Nash did just that. But he was not ready to make a bona fide offer for the 6-foot-10 forward who was expected to be a high first-round choice before breaking his right foot last January.
The injury sidelined Williams for 21 games, and he was the 21st player chosen in the draft.
"The Suns have a lot of talent and don't need anyone else now, but they're interested in future picks," Nash said yesterday. "We might offer them a future second-rounder, but so much hinges on what we hear from our doctors after they examine John Williams tomorrow [today]."
Nash said he is not optimistic that the fourth-year veteran, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in December, will pass the physical. Williams missed several months of prescribed rehabilitation, and his weight reportedly went past 300.
"John's status affects everything we do," Nash said. "My present speculation is that he probably won't be able to play immediately. Basically, it comes down to the strength of his knee and his present weight.
"After we hear from our doctors, I plan on talking things over with Wes [Unseld, coach] and getting input from John himself as to where he thinks he is physically."
Nash said several clubs have expressed interest in Bullets reserves. Forward Harvey Grant, who replaced Williams at power forward last season, has brought the most nibbles.
It also appears certain that veteran shooting guard Ledell Eackles will miss the opening of camp. Nash and Eackles' agent, Ed Sapir, remain $5 million apart, with Sapir seeking $8 million over four years.
Sapir said yesterday that he still is waiting for Nash to put a price on a proposed one-year contract.