Washington Bullets general manager John Nash sai yesterday that the team is prepared to play the 1990-91 season without free-agent shooting guard Ledell Eackles, who said Friday that he may sit out the season.
"If that's Ledell's position, there's not much we can do to alter it," said Nash, who was with the team in Newfoundland for an exhibition game. "The further this goes, the less valuable he is to us, because it will take him time to get ready."
Eackles was quoted in The Washington Post yesterday as saying that he was prepared to sit out the season.
"If the Judge [his agent, Ed Sapir] says, 'Ledell, stay out,' then I'm staying out," Eackles told The Post. "It would hurt me because I would want to play, but I'd just have to stay out. The only thing I'm asking for is the fair price of what the players are getting today."
Nash said the two sides are far apart, although he and Sapir talked several times last week after negotiations had broken off during the summer.
"We've made a number of different proposals in an effort to accommodate his agent's request, but we have not been optimistic," said Nash. "We have been no closer this week than we have been all summer long."
Nash said the Bullets are making a fair offer for the third-year pro, who was expected to step into the starting guard spot opened by the trade of Jeff Malone.
"The fact is there seems to be little interest from around the NBA, which would seem to dictate that our offer is a fair one," said Nash.
Another team could sign Eackles to an offer sheet; the Bullets then would have the option of matching that offer.
Eackles originally asked for a four-year, $8 million deal. The Bullets' original offer was four years, $2.8 million. The Bullets reportedly have increased their offer to $5.5 million over four years.
Eackles told The Post that he would sign a one-year contract if that's what it would take to rejoin the team.