Unseld, Wizards agree on new five-year contract

Owner Pollin puts to rest speculation on GM's future

February 06, 2000|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards majority owner Abe Pollin said last night that general manager Wes Unseld has agreed to a new five-year contract.

"I'm not sure he's signed to it, but he's agreed to it," Pollin said after the Wizards' 110-102 loss to the Charlotte Hornets last night at MCI Center.

Unseld, 53, has been part of the organization since he was the No. 1 draft choice of the then-Baltimore Bullets in 1968. One of the most celebrated players in the franchise's history and selected among the 50 all-time greatest players in NBA history, Unseld coached the team from 1987 through 1994 and has served as vice president and general manager since 1996.

As is his nature, Unseld declined to comment about his contract status last night.

"I don't talk about anybody else's, so I'm not going to talk about mine," he said.

Pollin's disclosure comes amid speculation that Unseld's future with the team had been clouded by the arrival last month of Michael Jordan as the team's president of basketball operations and minority owner.

Jordan was at home outside Chicago and unavailable for comment.

But Jordan has stated several times since he took over that he planned to work with Unseld, and Pollin seemed to indicate that last night.

"I wanted Wes and Michael wanted Wes to be here, that was very important to Michael," Pollin said. "Wes and I have a great relationship."

Interim coach Darrell Walker, who was brought in last week after Jordan fired first-year coach Gar Heard, said he was unaware of Unseld's new contract.

"If it's true, I'm happy for Wes," said Walker, who played for Unseld during his four years with the team.

"Wes has taken a pounding for this team on and off the court. He's a straightforward guy, and he deserves [the new contract]."

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