The biggest decision the Washington Bullets will have to make in the next five weeks is not who they will draft or which free agents they will try to sign, but what to do with Elvin Hayes.
As of now, Hayes' chances of returning as a Bullet next season probably are 50-50.
Hayes is one of the most gifted men to ever play the game, but he is often not worth the aggravation.
He is immature, hypercritical, egotistical and annoying to many of his teammates. He is fortunate that most of his fellow players have shown enough class not to rip him publicly. Obviously, they have more class than Hayes. But, privately, most of his teammates are fed up with him. And so are some of the people who make the decisions for the Bullets.
Hayes' antics boggle the mind:
He has exaggerated injuries so that he would not have to practice, and to cover himself after bad games.
He has taken himself out of games once the opposition began embarrassing him. As one teammate said, "Some of us are trying like hell to get in the games, and he's taking himself out of them."
He has complained to anyone who would listen - including teammates, coaches and team officials - when he thought he wasn't getting enough shots, after games the team won.
And if a teammate makes a mistake. Hayes often ridicules him [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
But the Bullet's patience with Hayes is running thin. Teammates [WORD ILLEGIBLE] accepta player who is hard to [WORD ILLEGIBLE] along with, like a Hayes, if they [WORD ILLEGIBLE] he will come through in the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Hayes doesn't come through [WORD ILLEGIBLE] big games, a team has to look [WORD ILLEGIBLE] brightest star. The Bullets, both [WORD ILLEGIBLE] year and this, learned it's not [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to look to Hayes.
[WORD ILLEGIBLE] of counting on him to lead [WORD ILLEGIBLE] they often sit in fear, waiting [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the Hayes swoon.
After Hayes scored 40 points against Buffalo, he said some players on other teams were afraid of him. He said he could see fear in those players' eyes whenever he got the ball.
If he looked in the eyes of Houston's Moses Malone or Dwight Jones during the recent playoff series, he would have seen glee. Jones was about afraid of Hayes as Laverne is of Shirley.
And Malone took Hayes down low and murdered him.
When things are going well. Hayes goes well. When they are going bad, Hayes goes bad.
When that's what you get from the person who is supposedly your best player, the team is in trouble.
If the Bullets decide to trade Hayes, they won't get equal talent in return. His assets and drawbacks are well known.
What Elvin Hayes needs to do is give himself a cold slap in the face. He has to change.