Pollin says Bullets can go without absent Williams

October 09, 1990|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Correspondent

EMMITSBURG -- Washington Bullets owner Abe Pollin said yesterday that, if necessary, his team is prepared to play the 1990-91 National Basketball Association season without forward John Williams.

"One of these days, if he doesn't act responsibly, we'll write him off for the year," said Pollin, making his first visit to Bullets training camp at Mount St. Mary's. "Eventually, we have to make some determination what to do if he doesn't show up."

But Pollin and general manager John Nash haven't set deadlines for Williams, 24, who was scheduled to take his preseason physical in Washington Thursday but has dropped out of sight.

"We really can't find him," said Pollin, who has supported Nash in his decision to fine Williams, 6 feet 9, more than $200,000 to date for failing to maintain his rehabilitation program after December knee surgery that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

"We just hope nothing negative has happened to him," Pollin said. "Before we decide any action, we'd just like to talk to him.

"John is a great player and a fine person. I don't believe he's the devious type and not reporting because of his fine. But he has to act with some responsibility. We can't judge how ready he is to play until the doctors check his knee and weight [reportedly up to 300 pounds]."

Pollin said the team has not had contact with Williams since midsummer, when Nash and coach Wes Unseld talked with him in California and checked on his condition. Nash spoke with Williams' agent, Fred Slaughter, Saturday, but Slaughter said he was also unaware of the forward's whereabouts.

"John is a strong, young guy who has never been hurt before," Pollin said. "This knee injury might have been very traumatic for him. That might explain his absence. But he is still under contract and has a responsibility to fulfill it."

Pollin said he also was disturbed by Ledell Eackles' holdout. A restricted free agent, Eackles was being groomed to replace traded Jeff Malone as the starting shooting guard.

"I feel we offered Ledell an extremely fair contract [$2.8 million over four years]," Pollin said. "I told Ledell personally that he has tremendous ability and can become a superstar. And, when he does, he'll be paid accordingly."

Eackles' agent, Ed Sapir, had set an opening price of $8 million for four years, but now appears willing to consider a one-year deal. Nash had made a qualifying offer of $282,000 with a February deadline. Conversations with Sapir yesterday proved inconclusive.

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