Bullets cut Robinson, Lee roster still 2 over Williams arbitration tentatively Dec. 9

October 26, 1991|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Correspondent

BOWIE -- The Washington Bullets waived guards Kurk Lee and Larry Robinson yesterday, reducing their roster to 14 players, two over the maximum allowed by Thursday evening, the night before the opening of the 1991-92 NBA season.

Meanwhile, the arbitration hearing of veteran forward John Williams has been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 9, but the Bullets and NBA officials have yet to agree.

Fred Slaughter, lawyer-agent for Williams, who has boycotted training camp for the second straight year, said the NBA Players Association proposed the date yesterday after a number of postponements.

"We haven't heard anything formally," said Bullets general manager John Nash. "When we do, we'll have to see if our attorneys will be available."

Two who were told they would not need to be available were Lee and Robinson.

Lee, a Dunbar High and Towson State alumnus, played last season as a reserve for the New Jersey Nets.

Robinson started and ended last season with the Bullets, appearing in 12 games after making the team as a free agent out of Centenary. The shooting guard also played 24 games in midseason for the Golden State Warriors.

In Robinson's case, Unseld said, "He just didn't get the job done."

Lee, who led Towson State to the NCAA tournament in 1990, was tested primarily as a backup for point guard Michael Adams. Despite exhibiting defensive skills, he did not fulfill Unseld's needs as a team leader. Lee also failed to score in six preseason games.

4 Lee and Robinson were not available for comment.

As for Williams, Slaughter said he first filed for arbitration March 9, with an estimated $500,000 in back pay being disputed.

"Even if they hear the case in December, by the time a decision is made, a full year could have gone by," said Slaughter.

"I want to know how anyone can justify that nine months have already passed without this matter being heard? Either the Bullets can't mobilize their forces or the league can't be represented. It's always something."

Nash said the Bullets were ready for arbitration in August, but that Slaughter was in Europe at the time.

Meanwhile, Slaughter raised the possibility that Williams might report before his case is heard.

"This arbitration date will be a new chip in John Williams' computer," the agent said. "Then it will be up to him if he wants to play or wait for arbitration. Even if he wins, he might sit out the year. John has to decide what to do."

Slaughter is contesting a contract addendum that he said Williams signed without his counsel April 18. This agreement tied the money the Bullets withheld from his $1.2 million salary last season to periodic weigh-ins this past summer.

He received $100,000 in June for reducing from 276 to 272 pounds, failed a test in July and shunned the scales in August.

"As far as I'm concerned, there are no weight clauses except incentive ones in his contract with Washington," Slaughter said.

Nash said that even if Williams reports before the arbitration case, he could be suspended unless he is in playing condition.

Lee's departure is expected to boost the chances of free-agent point guard Corey Gaines of Loyola Marymount, who has proved adept at running Unseld's uptempo offense.

The player cuts yesterday didn't answer all the Bullets' roster questions.

One factor is the uncertain status of first-round draft pick LaBradford Smith, a guard who has missed preseason with an ankle injury.

Also, with veteran forwards Harvey Grant and Tom Hammonds slowed by injury and illness, respectively, Unseld may be forced to keep another big man. He already is without three forwards, with Bernard King and Mark Alarie (knee surgery) joining Williams on the sidelines.

Maryland alum Albert King has proved useful in the preseason, but the small-forward position also could be filled by converted shooting guard Ledell Eackles, who is nursing a bruised rib cage.

NOTES: C Pervis Ellison (groin) and Eackles (rib) again missed practice, forcing Unseld to cut scrimmage short. Nash has been scanning the waiver wire for help, but he discounts the possibility of a trade in the near future. Bernard King's expected return in December stifles player movement.

Roster update

Here's Alan Goldstein's look at the Bullets' roster with 2 preseason games remaining, against Boston tonight and Detroit Tuesday:

SET .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ON BUBBLE

.. .. .. .. .. .. Point guard

Michael Adams .. .. .. Corey Gaines

.. .. .. .. .. .. Shooting guard A.J. English .. .. .. .. Tim Legler

Ledell Eackles

*LaBradford Smith

David Wingate

.. .. .. .. .. .. Center

Pervis Ellison .. .. Cedric Lewis

Charles Jones

.. .. .. .. .. .. Power forward

Harvey Grant

Greg Foster

.. .. .. .. .. .. Small forward

Tom Hammonds .. .. ..Albert King

Larry Stewart

* Injured, but could be activated by opener

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