The Bullets will open rookie training camp today without first-round draft choice Roger Phegley, who is still considering the team's latest contract proposal.
"I've offered him (Phegley) what I'm going to offer him," said General Manager Bob Perry yesterday before a press conference announcing the signing of the club's other first-round pick, DePaul center Dave Corzine.
"We've exercised all of our alternatives.I hope he (Phegley) signs but I didn't know what else we can do. I don't know what other concessions I can make under the circumstances."
The club had hoped to have both players in Washington yesterday to sign contracts. But Phegley rejected a Bullet offer Tuesday when it did not include a no-cut clause, something Ferry refuses to grant.
Two years ago, Ferry, who has a reputation as a tough negotiator, had similar contract difficulties with Mitch Kupchak. Rookie camp had begun and Kupchak was about to leave to play basketball in Europe when the Bullets and he agreed to a contract.
Joe Napoli, Phegley's attorney, said yesterday that he would talk again with Ferry today. Napoli was optimistic that the parties could reach an agreement, and "get Roger into camp by Friday, at the latest. They've been saying this is their last offer for the last four weeks, so I think there is room for negotiation."
If the Bullets cannot sign Phegley, they can trade his rights to another club. Failing that, Phegley can sit out the season and he placed in next year's draft pool, or he could play in Europe.
"We haven't stopped talking," said Ferry. "But it's up to them now. We made an offer and they have to decide what they want to do."
Until the Phegley problem is resolved, most of the interest in the first part of training camp - veterans report to the Fort Meade site tomorrow afternoon - will center around Corzine, the leading candidate to fill the spot vacated by free-agent Joe Pace, now with the Celtics.
The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Corzine is out of the Wes Unself mold, although he said yesterday he considers himself "a good outside shooter. I'll put it up from 15 or 20 feet if they don't guard me. I now the Bullets play a lot of high-post offense and if I can hit from the outside it will have to lossen up the middle."
Corzine also is a fine passer, another necessity for a center in the Bullet offense. And he says talk about his rebounding problems is exaggerated. "I'm not going to sky over anyone but I can use my strength and size to gain position. I was one of the nation's top rebounders the last two years in college so I must have been doing something right."
He averaged 11.8 rebounds and 21 points (shooting 55 per cent) his senior year after compiling a 12.6 rebound mark as a junior. But overcoming what he calls misleading labels is nothing new to Corzine.
"I had my hair long as a freshman and a sophomore and right away everyone thought I was a flake," he said. "No other reason. So I cut it but the label stood. It bothered me both personally and as an athlete at first because people didn't know me but they were writing it anyway.
"After a while I got used to it. I found if I started screaming about it, people would think I was trying to make trouble."
The Bullets also announced the signing of fourth-round pick Lawrence Boston, the 6-8 Maryland forward. Third-round pick Terry Sykes from Grambling has decided to play in Italy.
Kevin Grevey is sporting a new curly hairdo.