Bob Dandridge said yesterday he expects to be in uniform when the NBA regular season begins Oct. 13 "whether it is here with the Bullets or with someone else."
Dandridge, who has yet to report to Washington's training camp because of a contract problem, said he doesn't want to be traded. But he said he does not want to sit out the upcoming season either.
"One way or another. I want to play this season," he said. "If not with the Bullets, then probably with someone else. I don't think they would stand in my way. I'll play in the NBA somehow this season."
But team owner Abe Pollin reiterated yesterday that he wouldn't trade Dandridge.
"We won't trade him," said Pollin. "But I expect that he will play for us this year. Why Because he's a great basketball player who contributed greatly to the Bullets winning the title last year and I think he's a person who will honor his obligations.
"No one is being singled out about anything in this instance. We don't renegotiate contracts. That's always been my policy and I believe in it. I think any contract involves an obligaiton that both parties should live up to."
Dandridge and his lawyer, Scott Lang, talked to Pollin soon after the club won the NBA title and asked that he consider questions about the player's contract. Dandridge felt that his value to the club was not reflected in the three-year, $250.000 pact, especially considering he was only the fourth-highest paid player on the squad.
Pollin said he would give them an answer to their inquiries. When the answer did not come before training camp started, Dandridge stayed out. Pollin subsequently informed Dandridge that he would not alter the contract.
"Nothing has changed about my thinking concerning what I did," said Dandridge, now in his 13th day away from the team. "It's strictly a business matter. We approached it all the time with that attitude.
"If I come back to play. I will play hard, although I may have trouble communicating with some people in the organization for a while and that could make the atmosphere difficult. But there will be no hard feelings."
Dandridge said that the last two weeks have afforded him the opportunity "To give me an extended vacation that I needed. I am more relaxed now and ready to play basketball. Before, I would have been in a bad mood and that would have hurt me.
"So far, I realize nothing has been accomplished. If anything, the Bullets have gained an extra $2,000 in fine money from me. I could go back and not gain anything as far as the contract is concerned, but what I've been able to accomplish the last two weeks off the court has balanced that off.
"I have peace of mind now. I feel good and I've got my personal business dealings in good shape. The only thing I've really lost is a few weeks of conditioning. I'll have to play catch-up there."
Without Dandridge, the Bullets have lost all four of their exhibition games. Although results of those contests are usually meaningless, it is obvious that any hope the team has of repeating as champion depends on Dandridge's availability.
Pollin, however, has a history of steadfastly supporting what he considers important business and personal standards. His friends say he likely would risk losing another title rather than back off the no-renegotiation stand.