Terps' Williams expected to sign for $13.5 million

October 29, 1992|By Martin McNeal | Martin McNeal,McClatchy News Service

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- If the Sacramento Kings' unsigned first-round draft choice Walt Williams heeds the advice of his attorney, he will sign a six-year contract worth $13.5 million today.

That would enable the former Maryland star to join the NBA club in Toronto tomorrow and maybe even play a couple of minutes in the preseason game against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls beat the Kings, 105-96, last night at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.

Kings president Rick Benner sent Williams' attorney, Len Elmore, a contract yesterday and Elmore said he believes it is a fair offer.

"We talked a couple of times," Elmore said, "and I have a contract that I've been looking at. I think it is one that is worthy of signing at this time. But the final decision is up to Walt and he won't see the contract until [today]."

The contract, once it is signed, must be cleared by the NBA.

Benner stopped short of saying that a deal had been done, but his voice and upbeat conversation displayed a far more relaxed demeanor.

"We're making good progress and I'm optimistic that we're going to get something very soon," he said. "I don't think there are many major obstacles in our way, but there still are some minor things that we have to get done."

Benner said the contract Elmore received certainly was not the first he has received from the Kings.

"I've sent a few contracts the past few days," Benner said. "But there are adjustments that have to be made in almost every contract. We don't have a final version."

Nevertheless, general manager Jerry Reynolds and coach Garry St. Jean were pleased to hear they finally would get a chance to work with Williams, who will have missed 21 days since the start of training camp if he reports tomorrow.

"I'd be thrilled if it happens," Reynolds said. "The sooner, the better. Because of the late signing, he's got to come to Sacramento and go to work. But at least he'll get a week in with the team to get to know the guys. If he had gotten here after the season started, it would have been almost impossible for him to fit in."

St. Jean wants to see Williams before he gets too excited.

"When he gets off the plane and gets to the hotel and meets the fellows, then I'll have an ear-to-ear grin on my face," St. Jean said. "And then we'll go to work."

St. Jean has the recent experience of acclimating Billy Owens to the Golden State Warriors' system last season, when Owens missed training camp while waiting to sign with the Kings before being traded.

"The key will be what type of shape the young man is in," St. Jean said. "Like Billy, Walt has a feel and intelligence for the game to pick things up quickly. But we're not going to show him four positions for every play. We'll go slowly and work with him extra every day. It's like what we used to call in school, extra-help sessions."

What might have helped accelerate the deal for Williams, the No. 7 pick, was news that Milwaukee's Todd Day had finally signed a contract. The signing of Day, the eighth pick, was announced last night.

Williams had insisted on being paid more than Day, who signed a five-year deal for a reported $2.1 million per year. Williams' contract gives him an extra year of salary as well as the ability to become a free agent after four years.

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