NBA to arbitrate Williams case Dec. 9 in N.Y.

November 06, 1991|By Alan Goldstein

Forward John Williams, who filed for arbitration eight months ago, will be granted a hearing Dec. 9 at the NBA offices in New York to settle his dispute with the Washington Bullets over an estimated $500,000 withheld from his 1990-91 salary.

The case will be heard by Daniel G. Collins, a law professor at New York University, who handles arbitration cases for the league.

Williams will be represented by his agent, Fred Slaughter of Santa Monica, Calif.

The Washington law firm of Avent Fox, Kintner, Plotkin and Kahn will represent the Bullets, with general manager John Nash and head coach Wes Unseld expected to testify. Legal counsels Gary Bettman and Joel Litvin will represent the league.

Williams missed 49 games last season before team doctors ruled that his prescribed weight of 260 pounds would allow him to play on his rehabilitated right knee.

The Bullets placed his money in escrow and said it would be returned if he reported at 260 pounds by the opening of training camp Oct. 4.

Slaughter said the new weight clause was imposed without his knowledge, and Williams, for the second straight year, boycotted training camp.

When he returned to Washington last week, the 6-foot-9 forward weighed 305 pounds and failed his preseason physical. The Bullets suspended him again, with doctors saying 260 pounds was his maximum playing weight.

Bullets management has allowed Williams use of team facilities to work into shape. But he may not practice with the team, and he is not required to attend home games.

"From where I sit," said Nash, "the only important date was Oct. 4, 1991, when John Williams didn't report for the start of training camp. At that point, we decided to go ahead without him."

Williams was not available for comment.

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