Muresan could move to Hornets

Free-agent Wizards center takes Charlotte physical

January 27, 1999|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

Free-agent center Gheorghe Muresan, who missed all of last season with the Washington Wizards with a foot injury, took a physical with the Charlotte Hornets yesterday.

The Hornets are looking for a center, having lost Vlade Divac (Sacramento Kings) and Matt Geiger (Philadelphia 76ers) to free agency. Charlotte last week signed power forward Derrick Coleman, who might be forced to play center.

Standing 7 feet 7, Muresan is the tallest player in NBA history. Selected in the second round of the 1993 draft by the then-Washington Bullets mainly as a project, Muresan went on to win the NBA's Most Improved Player award after averaging 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds during the 1995-96 season. The next season, he shot a league-best 60.4 percent from the field, and his 57.8 percent from the field overall is a franchise best for the Wizards.

What was thought to be a strained tendon in his right foot forced Muresan to miss the 1997-98 season. During the NBA lockout, it was determined the injury was due to pressure on a nerve in Muresan's back, leading to surgery. His rehabilitation includes footwork and running in a pool. He said that he could be ready to play in March.

"The treatment is doing a lot to make the nerve calm down," Muresan said last week, when he attended one of the informal workouts of the Wizards. "I feel much better."

Hornets spokesman Harold Kaufman said results of Muresan's physical will be known this morning. Muresan has indicated he would like to remain in Washington.

"I don't feel like I want to move somewhere else," Muresan said. "I have here most of my friends. For me, it's hard to move to another city and play. I'd rather stay home."

On the Rod Strickland front, agent David Falk and Wizards general manager Wes Unseld did not talk yesterday. The Wizards are offering the free-agent point guard $27 million over three years. Strickland is seeking $55 million over five years.

The Wizards will re-sign free-agent forward Ben Wallace to a two-year, $1.5 million contract today.

Pub Date: 1/27/99

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