Players not ready to celebrate

November 18, 1994|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was a day the Washington Bullets got the services of two top-quality players. Yet there were some mixed feelings as the team gathered before last night's game.

The proven ability of Chris Webber and the potential of Juwan Howard were welcome additions. Yet the loss of Tom Gugliotta made it difficult to celebrate.

"It's devastating," forward Calbert Cheaney said in a somber Washington locker room. "Tom's a great friend of mine and a great player and an excellent guy. The fact that we're losing him is a great blow to us."

On the court, Webber should more than make up for Gugliotta's loss. Webber, 6 feet 10, 250 pounds, was Rookie of the Year past season while playing out of position at center. With Kevin Duckworth, Gheorghe Muresan and Jim McIlvaine at center -- and Howard having the ability to play there -- Webber will be able to play any of the frontcourt positions.

"Chris proved himself as one of the top forwards in the league," guard Rex Chapman said. "Juwan has a lot of potential, but has yet to play an NBA game. We just have to hope for the best."

Now, it's time for the Bullets to begin trimming the roster. Rookie forward Anthony Tucker, who surprisingly made the team, could be cut when he gets off the injured list. So could Brian Oliver, a guard who also made the roster as a free agent. Former Coppin State forward Larry Stewart, who has played sparingly after missing most of past season with a foot injury, could find himself fighting for a job. So could rookie McIlvaine, although the Bullets may want to keep him if he develops.

A big change could be how it affects the low-post game of Duckworth, who could get fewer looks with post-up threats Howard and Webber in the lineup.

The team now will have a versatile front line, with a number of forwards able to play multiple positions. And once Webber and Howard blend in, the Bullets could be tough to beat.

"The way we we're playing, this helps getting guys like that," guard Doug Overton said. "We'll definitely be a team to be reckoned with."

BIG DEALS

The Bullets' acquisition of Chris Webber for Tom Gugliotta and first-round draft picks in 1996, 1998 and 2000 was their biggest deal since the trade for Moses Malone on June 17, 1986. Other major Bullets trades:

Nov. 1, 1965: Jim Barnes, Johnny Green and Johnny Egan and cash acquired from New York for Walt Bellamy.

Oct. 18, 1971: Archie Clark acquired from Philadelphia for Kevin Loughery and Fred Carter.

Nov. 11, 1971: Mike Riordan and Dave Stallworth acquired from New York for Earl Monroe.

April 13, 1972: Elvin Hayes acquired from Houston for Jack Marin and future considerations.

Aug. 28, 1975: Dave Bing and a first-round draft choice in 1977 obtained from Detroit for Kevin Porter.

June 17, 1986: Moses Malone, Terry Catledge and a first-round ** draft choice in 1986 and 1988 acquired from Philadelphia for Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson.

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