Tom Henderson's attorney had a talk with the Bullets yesterday for the first time since the playoffs ended and came away convinced the two sides can reach a contract agreement this summer.
"It was a very friendly conversation," said Scott Lang about his telephone talk with General Manager Bob Ferry.
"We told the Bullets that Tom would like to come back and play with them next year," Lang said. "And they told me they would like to have Tom back.
"That's as far as we got. The next step is for me to get with Tom in the next week or so and come up with a contract that we think is fair.
"Then we will see what they want to offer in return. I just don't think we will have problems coming to an agreement."
Henderson, who has been with the team for almost three seasons, played out his option this year and now is a free agent.Lang said he has begun calling around the league, talking to general managers to get an idea of what teams want Henderson and how much they think he is worth.
"I've just begun my work," Lang said. "We didn't want to do anything until the playoffs ended.
"We need to get an idea of what Tom's market value is. I don't see us asking for an outrageous contract; Tom has never wanted something unrealistic."
Land said he also thought Henderson did not hurt his value in the playoffs, although his shooting fell off compared with his regular-season marksmanship.
"Tom is still a playmaker, not someone who is supposed to score," Lang said. "He's on of the best playmakers in the league. The playoffs didn't change that, and the people I talk to agree."
Told that the Bullets have already talked with Detroit playmaker Kevin Porter, another free agent, Lang said he didn't think "it is appropriate for me to comment on anything like that.
"The Bullets already have a playmaker, a good one, in Tom Henderson. He's taken them to the finals two straight years. I think that is something that has to be remembered in all this."
If Henderson does not sign with Washington but goes instead to another club, the Bullets would have to receive compensation. That is why the next few weeks are so vital to both the club and to Henderson; the initial exchange of contract offers could well help determine the level of compensation if the two sides fail to reach contract agreement.