Bob Dandridge, one of the most sought after of the more than 50 National Basketball Association's free agents, said yesterday that he wants to play in Washington.
It is no secret that the Bullets want the 29-year-old Dandridge, who played with Milwaukee last season, as much as he wants them. At 6-foot-6, he is one of the NBA's premier small forwards, the Bullets' weakest position.
"There are several teams I'm interested in and the Bullets are at the top of the list," Dandridge said.
"My representative has talked to the Bullets on a couple of occasions and I don't think reaching an agreement on a contract will be a problem. It's the compensation thing that is holding it up, and that's out of my hands."
The Bullets have admitted that the compensation rule has made them edge about signing Dandridge.
Settlement of the Oscar Robert son suit last year ended the option clause in NBA player contracts. Once a player's contract expires, as did Dandridge's, he is free to deal with any tam he chooses. But until the 1980-81 season, teams losing free agents must be compensated.
In the past, when a player's options expired and he was signed with another team, the compensation was a No. 1 draft choice.
Now, once a free agent makes known the team he wants to play for that team and his former team try to agree on compensation. If they cannot agree, the commissioner decides the compensation - draft choices, money or players.
"This is the first year of the free agent status and both teams are skeptical of compensation," Dandridge said. "I just hope they can work something out."
As of last night the Bullets and Bucks were reportedly at an impasse.
"I want to go to a team that has a true chance of winning the championship. Washington has the potential. All it needs is a good small forward," said Dandridge.
Dandridge has an 18.8 career scoring average. He averaged 20.8 last season, his second highest in eight years in the NBA. He has never averaged fewer than 18.4 points except 13.2 in his rookie year.
Another attraction Washington has to Dandridge is its closeness to his home in Richmond. "That's where my roots are," he said, "and I want to stay close."