Although the Washington Bullets have been bounced out of the National Basketball Association playoff, there is no panic within the official family.
Instead there is an air of optism surrounding the Bullets.
They have been brutally awakened to the fact they are no longer a team of the present but one of the future. The Bullets will become a younger club built around Mitch Kupchak.
"The free agent factor and the age of our team will create some openings," general manager Bob Ferry said yesterday.
On June 8, five Bullets - West Unseld, Mike Riordan, Leonard Gray, Bob Weiss and Jimmy Jones - will be among approximately 57 NBA free agents.
Add 33-year-old Dave Bing to that and the Bullets could, indeed, have a number of openings.
"I'll be getting hold of all of our players and find out their plans for next year," Ferry said.
Coach Dick Motta is still Ferry's man.
"I think he's an excellent teacher and did a great job considering the competition we faced," Perry said. "Winning 48 games is an accomplishment, especially after the moves we made at the beginning of the year when we were floundering.
"To analyze wins and losses is only relative to the competition and the competition in the league this year was as tough as it's been in the last nine years."
When Perry and Motta talk about the future, two things excite them - the June 10 draft, in which they have the fourth and 17th picks in the first round, and Mitch Kupchak.
"I'm tickled to death about Mitch and pleased as heck with Larry (Wright)," Motta said of his two prize rookies.
"The bright spot is that we can build with this team," Perry said. "We have to decide which position to commit to Mitch - big forward or center and then kind of build around him. But he's flexible enough to make that an easy thing to do.
"He's going on a heavy weightlifting program this summer. He overpowers you with hustle now. We hope next year, he'll be able to do it with both hustle and muscle."
Motta said yesterday he and assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff were talking," and we were laughing about when we started the season with Truck (Leonard Robinson), (Elvin Hayes), Davit (Bing) and Phil (Chenier). We also had Nick Weatherspoon.We weren't very good.
"We finished with the fifth best record in the league though, I look forward to another year. We'll be much more organized and we'll be better.
"Heck, I doubled my wins in a year," added Motta who won 24 games at Chicago last season. "You can't beat that.
"I like it here and I like my working conditions. It was a rough adjustment at first. I was an outsider working into a set situation and it was rough at times. I was replacing a popular coach and I opened at home to a full house and got my tail booed off. But I came through it.
"I don't think we ever panicked. I saw our organization in the last two months get better - not good enough, but better. Sometimes we had players who weren't aware of the score and time situations but we made progress.
"In nine years in the league, this ranks second or third in enjoyment," Motta added. "I didn't have to yell or scream much. It's good class of athlete here. You don't dread getting on an airplane with them."
"The opportune time we had to win the NBA title was last year and the year before that because the teams in the final didn't have the dominating center," Ferry said.
Here is a rundown of the status of the 13 players on the Bullets' roster, ans was not as effective as he once was, had lowest scoring and rebounding years of his career except for season when he was injured and missed 26 games: his future is uncertain: is contemplating retirement.
Elvin Hayes, 31 - Had perhaps the best allaround regular season of his career, but typical Hayes playoff - poor, much of the controversy on this teams centers on him. The major decision the Bullets have is whether to keep him.
Phil Chenier, 26 - Slipped a little defensively but had a decent year offensively Motta likes him although his confidence in Chenier waivers at times.
Tom Henderson, 25 - Put under pressure by being responsible for running the team after spending training camp and the first three months of the season in Atlanta with the Hawks. "All he needs," says Motta, "is a training camp with us."
Kevin Grevey, 23 - Weakest starter and most likely to be replaced.
Mitch Kupchak, 22 - A big surprise for the Bullets and destined to be even more popular here than Sonny Jurgensen; is probably team's most valuable piece of property. "The kid has charisma," Ferry says.
Larry Wright, 22 - Motta likes him and says he will be star; has that Kupchak confidence, and exhuberance; went through a lot of changes, but always bounced back; was Bullets' coolest guard in the last couple of playoff games.
Bob Weiss, 35 - Almost sure to retire.
Dave Bing, 33 - A question mark: Bullets probably won't ask him back, although his contract has a year to go was one of team's biggest disappointments this year in, as they say, "how quick he lost it."
Mike Riordan, 31 - another free agent-to-be, great guy to have around but wasn't used much: age showed in his play too; probably won't be back.
Joe Pace, 23 - Has much potential but sometimes acts as if he doesn't want to play, Bullets may give up on him.
Jimmy Jones, 32 - Will be free agent and will probably retire because of bad knee.
Leonard Gray, 25 - Another free agent. Bullets were disappointed in him; biggest claim was tying an NBA record by fouling out of a game in six minutes.