Kevin Grevey's agent said yesterday there is a "major problem" with the contract the Washington Bullets have offered the free agent guard and that there is "an excellent chance Kevin won't be signed and in camp when it opens."
The rookie camp will open Friday, with the veterans to meet a 3 p.m. that day. The first official day of practice for the veterans is Monday, but many of them are expected to work out with the rookies Friday.
"We have a basic difference with the contract," said LaRue Harcourt, Grevey's agent, who also said his client has not reveived an offer from another NBA team. "There is a minor problem concerning the amount of money and a major problem concerning the length of the contract.We want to sign for two years and they want us to sign for three."
Bob Ferry, Bullet general manager, said yesterday "the structure of our contract is not going to change."
That third year is important to Grevey because, after the 1980-81 season, compensation no longer will be awarded a team that loses a free agent. Therefore, more teams will be willing to bid for free agents.
Harcourt feels the compensation rule has prevented teams other than the Bullets from offering Grevey a contract this season.
"We can't find out what Kevin's true value is because all of the teams we've talked to are afraid to offer anything because of what they might have to give up as compensation."
Harcourt said he is willing to compromise on the length of the contract if the Bullets offer more money.
"If they were to raise their offer 10 percent and we dropped ours 10 percent we would be together," Harcourt said.
"The Bullets offered Kevin a substantial raise, but it is not a significantly substantial raise," Harcourt added. "We don't expect Kevin to be paid more than Elvin Hayes, Wes Unseld or Bob Dandridge, but we do think he has proven that he should fit into the third or fourth highest-paid position on the team."
Grevey earned between $160,000 and $165,000 last year. Harcourt said both he and Grevey are becoming more discouraged as the matter drags on.
Grevey was unavailable for comment yesterday, but he and Harcourt were scheduled to meet last night to decide on a counteroffer to the Bullets.
Ferry, meanwhile, was taking a hard line.
"We've offered Kevin a contract," he said. "If he signs it, he does, and if he doesn't . . . we will only negotiate a few minor points.
"I'd like this thing resolved as soon as possible, but it won't affect our training camp any.We have Roger Phegley and Phil Chenier playing a big guard spot, so we aren't hurting at the position."
Ferry indicated that no team had contacted him about Grevey.
Grevey announced early last season that he was considering playing out his option if the Bullets did not offer what he felt was a satisfactory contract.
In January, the Bullets asked Harcourt to make an offer. Harcourt said yesterday that when he did the Bullets called it ridiculous. He said the Bullets did not make a counteroffer at that time.
"A month or so later we made another offer and again we got no response from the Bullets," Harcourt said. "Ferry then came up with an offer about a month ago. He offered a substantial raise, but we said the offer was not satisfactory.
"After meeting with Kevin in the next day or two I hope we will be able to propose a compromise that will be acceptable to everyone and we can get this taken care of soon,
"I just don't know though," Harcourt said. "I'm not as optimistic as I was at one time.
"I think Kevin should be in camp when it opens, but I also think he should be happy. Kevin feels very strongly about that third year and he feels strongly that the price is low."