NBA urges resolution, not deadline, for King

January 20, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

The NBA's top legal adviser said yesterday the Washington Bullets will have to make a decision soon in regard to rehabilitated Bernard King, but ruled out setting tomorrow's team practice as a deadline for reactivating or waiving the veteran.

Joel Litvin, the NBA's deputy general counsel, said, "We haven't given the Bullets a deadline, but we expect them to resolve King's situation reasonably soon.

"Ordinarily, when you're dealing with a player returning from a minor injury, we consider seven to 10 days a reasonable time once he has been cleared medically. But King's situation is unique since he hasn't played in a year and a half, so we've allowed the Bullets more latitude in evaluating him."

But NBA Players Association executive director Charles Grantham said yesterday he anticipated the Bullets and/or the league to resolve the matter by the end of tomorrow's practice at Bowie State.

"I've been in contact with Bernard on a continuing basis since he first returned on New Year's Day," said Grantham. "He first practiced on Jan. 7. On Thursday, it will be 14 days, and, in my mind, that should shut the window on this situation as far as the league is concerned."

Grantham said he plans to speak to general manager John Nash and coach Wes Unseld to help resolve the matter that turned into a major debate after King demanded to be reinstated in time for the Jan. 12 game against the San Antonio Spurs.

King confronted Unseld at a practice the previous day after refusing to participate in a mobility drill. Words and shoves were exchanged, and King was suspended for four days, lasting through Monday.

Unseld says the practice incident will not influence his decision.

"I've said all along that my decision process had Bernard's welfare in mind," Unseld said before last night's game in Indianapolis.

"We're talking about a 36-year-old who hasn't practiced but twice in 18 months. I'd like to think giving him more time to get into basketball shape would prove beneficial."

Though Nash has said the decision regarding King's status resides with Unseld, he has clearly indicated on which side he stands.

In Monday's New York Times, Nash suggested that King's surprising return was simply to attract a lucrative contract next season.

"This is not about proving anything or trying to hook on with a team that has a chance to win," he said. "More money is what it is about."

Nash said he would not comment further on King, but expected him to participate in tomorrow's practice.

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