L. Williams fills void for Bullets Rebounding, shot-blocking strengths for 6-9 center

July 27, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

The Washington Bullets, who lost backup center Jim McIlvaine to free agency, moved to fill the rebounding and defensive void yesterday by signing free agent Lorenzo Williams to a multi-year contract.

In the past two seasons, Williams, 6 feet 9, 213 pounds, started at center for the Dallas Mavericks, with rebounding and shot-blocking as his main contributions.

Last year, the Gainesville, Fla., native averaged 8.0 rebounds and 1.88 blocks while playing 27.8 minutes a game, dividing time with Cherokee Parks.

But Williams, who plays with his back to the basket, averaged less than four points in his two seasons with Dallas.

Williams, 27, chose the Bullets after reportedly weighing offers from more than a dozen NBA teams.

"I played with [shooting guard] Tim Legler in Dallas, and I also heard a lot of good things about coach [Jim] Lynam," he said. "Besides, with all the Bullets' moves up front [Washington also lost Juwan Howard to free agency and Rasheed Wallace by trade], I figured to get a real opportunity to play."

Most likely, Lynam will choose to use the rugged Williams in support of center Gheorghe Muresan and power forward Chris Webber.

The Bullets had an estimated $1.2 million to $1.4 million left in their salary cap, not enough to satisfy newly acquired point guard Rod Strickland's demands to renegotiate his contract, but enough to get several low-level free agents.

Williams was undrafted in 1991 after playing two seasons at Stetson University. He bounced around the minor leagues -- the Continental Basketball Association, U.S. Basketball League and Global League -- before earning brief NBA trials with Boston, Charlotte and Orlando in the 1992-93 season.

"I enjoyed the traveling and never got frustrated," he said. "I finally got a chance to play in Dallas after they traded Sean Rooks, and that got a lot of teams interested in me this year. I'm looking at coming to Washington as a fresh, new start."

Pub Date: 7/27/96

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