The Washington Bullets' Dick Motta, who described himself as a man "happy with my job and with the people around me," said last night he is not seeking to coach another team, including Los Angeles.
"I have a two-year contract and they've treated me very well here," said Motta, who ended two days of seclusion following the Bullets' loss to Seattle Friday in the National Basketball Association finals. "I love working with (general manager) Bob Ferry, I like my assistant, Bernie Bickerstaff, and I like (owner) Abe Pollin.
"Besides, we have a good basketball team. No one is abandoning ship."
Motta was responding to an article in the Los Angeles Times, which quoted him as saying that in regard to the Laker coaching job, "Someone in my position would be foolish not to consider options, assuming I could gracefully get out of my contract without burning any bridges . . . the Lakers are a heartbeat away from the championship."
Last night, Motta said the article "did a number on me. Hey, Jerry West is still the coach, he's a good friend of mine. I would never go after a job that isn't open."
Asked if he was declaring himself out of contention for further jobs, Motta replied: "I just don't plan out the future like that. I won't make any blanket declarations, that's not fair to me or to the Bullets or to my family.
"There are no more insecure jobs in the world than the jobs of coach, assistant coach and general manager in this league. Who knows what will happen?
"I'm not unhappy here. My wife and family love it here, the working conditions are decent, I don't have my head hanging anything. I've done a good job here."
Friends of Motta have long maintained that one of his life long ambitions is to take a coaching job in the West, where he was raised. But they also have said the fact he accepted a new, two-year contract midway through last season indicates his present contentment with the Bullets.
Motta, who celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary yesterday, also said nothing should be read into the last two days, when he talked to no one outside his immediate family and circle of friends.
"I always do that after a season," he said. "It's the best way. You can get your thoughts together and not be gin carving up the carcass prematurely. I feel rested now. I can start thinking ahead."
Motta said he hadn't talked with Ferry since Friday and that he "hadn't made any concrete decisions about what we will do with the team.
"I think there will be some changes, but I have no urge to break up the old gang. It's a pretty darn good basketball team."
He said, however, there were some situations the Bullets would have to deal with, "in the context that there are constant changes going on in the league, that teams are always trying to improve:
"Almost every team has a big guard. You have to keep up with that trend, you have to match that size factor.
"Will Phil Chenier recover enough to return to his old form and will Mitch Kupchak be okay?We can't control either development.
"Larry Wright and Charles Johnson are both 6-foot guards. Can you afford to have two 6-foot guards on the same team?
"You need two players on every team who can play at least two positions. With Mitch we had a guy who can play three, and Bobby Dandridge can go to guard, but I'd rather see him at small forward, where he is the best. Do we need someone with some added versatility?"
But anything the Bullets do, according to Motta, "has to start with what happens to our free agents (Kevin Grevey and Tom Henderson). If they sign with us, we can go certain ways and if they don't, we must do other things."
Told that Detroit guard Kevin Porter, a free agent, said yesterday that he wanted to play with Bullets, Motta replied: "That's interesting to know. I don't know Kevin, he's never played for me. But he certainly had a great year.
"But any talk about any free agent is premature. You can't make harsh judgments right now and do things you will regret."
Nor did Motta have any harsh judgments to make about the just-ended season. He said nothing that happened in the playoffs "can take away from the fact we had a great year under adverse circumstances and with a lot of pressure to overcome.
"Sure, I think Mitch's injury hurt us. It cut down on my flexibility. He could always cover when Wes or Elvin were having off nights and he allowed me to rest the three guys up front.
"I wound up playing the three of them too many minutes and that took its toll. We never could quite play to the standards we were capable of reaching and that is too bad because we are a heck of a team when everything is going right."