Bullets won't commit to keeping Acres

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

Mark Acres has been a pleasant surprise for the Washington Bullets since he joined the team as an emergency replacement April 3, after the club had lost centers Pervis Ellison and Charles Jones to knee injuries.

Matched against the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers' Brad Daugherty, New York Knicks' Patrick Ewing and Miami Heat's Rony Seikaly, the career backup has provided stubborn defense and surprising board play, averaging 8.0 rebounds in his three games as a starter.

Tonight in Orlando, Fla., he faces the supreme challenge in having to neutralize rookie sensation Shaquille O'Neal of the Magic, which is clinging to slim playoff hopes.

With Jones, 36, unlikely to be re-signed, there has been speculation that the Bullets might view Acres as an ideal replacement. Acres, at 6 feet 10 and 235 pounds, is bigger, bulkier and boasts more offensive skills than Jones.

Still, despite Acres' impressive eight-game audition, general manager John Nash said it is unlikely he will be a Bullet next season.

"Mark has done all we could ask for," Nash said. "But the fact that we have three second-round draft picks this year will give us an excellent opportunity to obtain a young big man with one of those selections."

Nash also said that several European prospects have piqued his interest, 7-6 Georghe Muresan of Romania in particular.

Having all but clinched the NBA's third-worst record, the Bullets (22-56) have improved their chances of getting one of the top three picks. And it likely will take more than $3 million a year to satisfy that player, most likely Shawn Bradley, Jamal

Mashburn or Chris Webber (if Webber chooses to enter the draft).

Nash's talents as a financial juggler will be seriously tested next season in trying to find room under the salary cap, although subtracting the contracts of former Bullet Bernard King and center William Bedford, who was on the club's books, will provide some maneuverability.

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