Rumors of resignation come as news to Unseld

January 01, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld was home yesterday, beginning a stretch of several days off. Just the night before, at Madison Square Garden, he was asked about a rumor that he was ready to resign -- a rumor that caught Unseld by surprise.

"I don't know where the talk came from," Unseld said. "I don't know who started it, but there's no truth to it."

Perhaps it was the team's 2-14 record in December, a dismal month that ended with Thursday's 102-84 loss to the New York Knicks. Or maybe it was just the rumblings from the New York reporters always in search of a scoop. Wherever the rumor started, Unseld wanted it to be known that he was ready to oversee the first practice of the new year tomorrow.

"We're looking to get back together and get some good practice sessions in," Unseld said.

Bullets general manager John Nash said he first heard the rumors on Thursday, but he, too, had no idea how they started.

"I've heard nothing from Wes on the issue," Nash said yesterday. "So I'd have to dispel them as simply that -- a rumor."

Even if there was a move to change coaches, Nash said he would have nothing to do with that decision.

"When I first came here, I was told that Wes and [owner] Abe

Pollin have a very unique relationship," Nash said, "and that Abe would be the one to determine whether that relationship would continue."

Recent efforts to reach Pollin, who reportedly is searching for a new home for the Bullets, have been unsuccessful.

The Bullets are coming off their worst full month since February ++ 1991, when they went 2-10.

What's so disappointing is that, after going 6-6 in November, the Bullets were supposed to be a stronger team with Pervis Ellison and Larry Stewart returning after starting the season on the injury list.

Ellison scored a season-high 21 points against the New York Knicks on Thursday, but he still has looked tentative as he continues to recover from surgery on both knees. And Stewart was put back on the injured list Dec. 27 after re-breaking the right foot that forced him to miss the start of the season.

December began with a tough stretch that included games against the Seattle SuperSonics (twice), Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz (twice), Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks -- all losses. But the Bullets ended the month with games against the likes of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings. The Bullets went 2-3 against those teams -- with two of the losses coming against the Kings.

The Bullets ended the month at the bottom of the Atlantic Division with an 8-20 record. The Bucks (8-20), Timberwolves (8-20), Kings (8-19) and Clippers (11-16) are among the worst teams in the league.

When the Bullets blew a 16-point lead in their 103-97 loss to the Kings at the USAir Arena on Wednesday, the crowd that a month before cheered loudly after home wins over the Charlotte Hornets and the Orlando Magic showered boos on the Bullets as they walked off the court.

The Bullets are hoping 1994 will bring better results -- but they plan to take it slowly.

"We're approaching it game by game," guard Rex Chapman said. "We just can't think about down the road or putting [December] behind us. It doesn't do us any good."

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