New York Knicks star center Patrick Ewing has threatened to play elsewhere next season, possibly with the Washington Bullets.
"I started my pro career in New York, and I want to end it in New York," he told the New York Post. "But I've got to do what's best for me. It's a business decision. Who knows? You might see me in a Bullets uniform next year."
After graduating from Georgetown in 1985, Ewing, the first player selected in the National Basketball Association draft, signed a 10-year deal with the Knicks worth $31.2 million. His agent, David Falk of Pro Serv Inc. in Arlington, Va., added a clause in the contract that provided Ewing with restricted free agency if, after six seasons, four players in the league were earning more money than he was earning.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward John "Hot Rod" Williams became the fourth such player this year, when he signed a seven-year pact worth $26.5 million. Williams will earn $4 million next season, compared with $3.3 million for Ewing.
Falk has talked with New York general manager Al Bianchi about upgrading Ewing's contract. But Ewing labeled the Knicks' initial offer "insulting" and added: "I've done everything they've asked me to do. It's a matter of pride. The NBA is flourishing, and I should be paid accordingly."
It is doubtful the Knicks would be willing to give up Ewing, 28, who has averaged 30 points and 14 rebounds the first three games of the season. If another team makes Ewing an offer, the Knicks would be obligated to match it to keep him.
dTC "Obviously, we are aware of the situation," Bianchi said. "We know what Patrick means to this team, but we don't comment publicly on contract negotiations."
Bullets general manager John Nash did not seem to take Ewing's remarks seriously. "Even if we did," he said, "there is nothing we could do about it this season. That would constitute tampering with another team's player."