The "they" Washington spoke of is chiefly Irv Levin, now San Diego owner - and possibly the main bidder in the Walton picture (Walton agent Jack Scott indicates) now that Walton and Golden State have cooled as an item (experts says that's because the Warriors got John Lucas instead of a big man they could pass on to Portland from Houston as comp for Rick Barry. And a Clipper signing of Walton could well lead to either Washington or Kunnert moving on to help satisfy the Blazers. Either, or heaven help 'em, both!

Anyway, Walton and Blazer owner Larry Weinberg met for nine or 10 hours Tuesday night in L.A., on top of a seven-hour confab Saturday, and the upshot was this statement by the Portland club:

". . . The Trail Blazers and Walton will continue to seek a trade satisfactory to both . . . one which gives the club value for the league's most valuable players."

Died: Arnold Galiffa, 51, All-American quarterback at Army in 1949, a U.S. Steel exec since playing NFL in 1953-54. In Glenview, Ill. . . . . Tom Jones, 47, who played at 6 feet 6, 330 pounds, with four NFL clubs. The one-time collegiate shot put champ - they called him "The Emperor Jones" when he took up pro wrestling - lived in Cincinnati. Heart attack in Port Chevron, Canada . . . F. George Tucker, 60, former president and chief executive officer of Bowie Race Course (and Freehold Raceway in New Jersey). Heart attack in Fort Lauderdale.