Bullets get extension to watch King

January 14, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

Bernard King made it perfectly clear Tuesday he wants to speed the decision-making process, but an NBA spokesman said yesterday that the Washington Bullets will be given "reasonable time" to determine whether to activate or release the veteran forward who has not played since undergoing knee surgery in September 1991.

Generally, a team is given seven to 10 days to reactivate a player coming off the injured list. But because of King's unusual circumstances, the Bullets are getting an extension in evaluating his physical condition.

"That [the seven-to-10-day] rule is not written in stone," said Terry Lyons, NBA director of media relations.

Nevertheless, the Bullets do not want King issuing new ultimatums and distracting the team.

"I think we'll make a decision one way or another by next week," a Bullets official said.

General manager John Nash was scouting the CBA All-Star game in Oklahoma City when King angrily listed his demands at a Capital Centre press conference Tuesday night. Nash said he fully supported coach Wes Unseld's desire to observe the 36-year-old forward over a number of practices.

"This is a special situation," said Nash, "and Wes and I will do what's best for the Bullets, not Bernard.

"When a guy is coming off a five-game injured list after an ankle sprain, it's understandable you don't need a lot of time.

"Maybe even if a guy has been out a month or so. But we're talking here about King missing a full season and a half of another one following knee surgery. Reasonably, you can't be asked to judge him after just a couple of practices."

Unseld could observe King in practice today and tomorrow prior to the Bullets' next game -- against New Jersey at the Baltimore Arena Saturday night.

Washington also has a light schedule of two games next week, which should give Unseld several practices in which to observe King, who is guaranteed his full $2.5 million contract this season. Retaining King will necessitate a roster cut because the team is currently at the 12-man maximum.

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