Washington Bullet forward Bob Dandridge said he will report to training camp on time this coming season whether or not the team renegotiates his contract.
Dandridge, who will begin the final season of a three-year contract, held out all of last preseason because the Bullets would not renegotiate his $250,000 a-year contract. He was fined $3,200.
He said last week he still wants to renegotiate the contract, but he has not pressed the Bullets to do it right away.
"I have a contract and I' have a contract and I'll honor it, so Ihll be in camp when Ihm suposed to be three," Dandridge said."I still want a better contract, but I realize I may have to play the year under the old one. What Mr.(Bullet owner Abe) Pollin does between now and the start of the season will determine where I go after that.
"I intentionally haven't given any thought to talling about my contract right now. I assume that when they are ready to talk about it, they'll let me know. We still have two or three months to do it.
"I like it here and I want to say and play here, and I anticipate that things will be worked out," Dandridge added. "But it is all up to the Bullets. If they don't want to change the contract, they don't have to.
"I just don't want to think about it now because I'm so high-strung it would spoil my whole summer. I have plenty of time to work it out.
"I just want to relax now and enjoy the summer. The Bullets are concerned about signing their rookies and free agents, and I want all of that behind them and out of the way when they start talking to me."
Dandridge, 31, has proven the last two seasons that he is perhaps the best and wisest Bullet player. Whithout him they were a collection of stars with no place to go, but when he signed as free agent, everyone else suddenly became better and molded into a team.
Off the court, Dandridge operates a little differently than he does on it. He believes this basically a cutthroat,dog-eat-dog world, and one must look out for himself and go in the direction his mind and heart take him, regardless of how others might feel about it.
In his two seasons as a Washington Bullet, the team won onw National Basketball Association championship and was runner-up to another.
Without Dandridge, neither accomplishment would have been realized and the entrie Bullets organization has acknowledged that. Now is the time Dandridge feels he should be rewarded for his services.
Dandridge shared his thoughts about last season, the Bullets' problems and what the future miught hold for him.
The primary Byllet weakness was shown in the playoffs - they have guard problems, especially at the big guard or shooting guard spot.
Starter Kevin Grevy was an erratic shooter and was limited defensively, Roger Phegley was injured and untried. Charles Johnson also was erratic and too short at times, and Pjil Chenie" was n only a shadow of his former after back surgery.
Dnadrige, however, feels that a healthy Chenier could solve all of the Bullet guard problems.
"It's Bob Ferry's and the coaching staff's responsibility to strengthen the weaknesses we have," Dandridge said. "Even when we were the champions we had weaknesses, and now they're just more obvious."
"Seattle is a young, talented team and they exploited us," Dandridge said. "We were having some trouble at the big guard spot and they took advantage of it. They did their homework and they came prepared to play us.
"I think Dennis Johnson did a good job, but no time during the series was there any real pressure on him. We didn't make him work hard at both ends, so he just glided through the series. There wasn't adequate pressure put on him offensively or defensively to lessen the effects he had on us.
"Unless we strengthen ourselves, it is going to be tough to get back to where were last season, and from the draft, it looks like the only way we are going to strengthed ourselves is if Chenier can reach his potential. That would resolve a big problem right there."
As a last resort, Coach Dick Motta moved Dandridge to guard during several playoff games this season. There has been speculation that playing Dandridge at guard the entries season would solve the Bullet guard woes.
"I would be offeded at this stage of my career for a team to want me to play guard when I've established my self as the best small forward in the game, Dandridge said.
"It's okay in spurts, but for a full season at guard I'd be at a distinct disadvantage over guys who have played there their entrie careers and it would only hurt the team. If you take of my forward spot, you'd have to find a forward to play there, too, so you may be strengthening one position but leaving a dent at another.
"Dick knows how I feel about it and he does't want me to play back there unless it's absolutely necessary."
It did become absolutely necessary last season in the Eastern Conference final against San Sntonio, when George Gervin almost single-handedly killed the Bullets, and in the final, when Dennis Johnson toyed with the Bullet guards.
"In those series we needed to have our five best players on the floor at once and that could only be done if I went to guard," Dandridge said. "I appreciate the way Dick handled the whole thing."
Stories circulated during the San Antonio series that Motta had asked Dandridge to play guard and Dandridge refused.
Dandridge says flatly that never happened.
"Ihve never told a coach no," he said. "He2s a direct source of my income, so how can I say no? He may get a vibe that I don't want to play back there, but that's something completely different.
"I played guard once early in the season to try offset John Williamson when we played New Jersey. Dick told me then that he'd only play me back there in emergencies and I said that was fined and we never discussed that."
Dandridge is spending the summer relaxing. he enjoys buying old housesin the District and recovating them. He also has taken up tennis. He and his wife Barbara and 4-year-old daughter Shana live in Alexandria, but spend a great deal of time in the District.
"The masses don't go to you, so you have to go to them." Dandridge said.
He calls last season "the most grueling I've ever been through and we were totally fatigued and exhausted when it was over.
"When we last that final game, it was a letdown , but the defeat didn't linger beyond a couple of days because we gave it our best shot and there was nothing more we could do about it. We were just beaten by a better team. I can live with that." CAPTION: Picture, Bob Dandridge