General Manager Bob Ferry said yesterday the Bullets are close to making a major trade and NBA sources say he is interested in obtaining both John Williamson of New Jersey and Maurice Lucas of Portland.
Those same sources say Bullets Larry Wright, Roger Phegley and Mitch Kupchak are being mentioned as possible trade bait. Bullet owner Abe Pollin said Saturday he will trade anybody to improve his slumping team.
"Something is pending," Ferry said after yesterday's National Basketball Association All-Star Game at Capital Center, adding that if a trade comes off, it will happen Monday or Tuesday.
"Some things still have to be worked out, though, if any trade is going to be made," Ferry said. "Either way it will happen in the next couple of days, or not at all. If you are going to make a move it's going to be a gamble, and now's the time to gamble. Friday could be too late."
Ferry would not say who he was trying to acquire or who he would have to give up, but sources around the league say the Bullets are very interested in Williamson, a shooting guard, and Lucas a power forward. They would settle for either player, but would like both on their roster.
Some sources say the Bullets might deal either Wright or Phegley, with contingencies, to the Nets for Williamson and other sources say it also is possible they might part with Mitch Kupchak to obtain Lucas.
The Nets, some sources say, also are after Lucas and have offered rookie Calvin Natt for Lucas and guard Lionel Hollins.
"I'm not going to make a move in this situation for anyone who hasn't proven he can play," Ferry said. "Any trade I make will be with an eye to the future, but it has to be one that will help us right now, too.
"Now is the time to gamble. I'm shooting craps."
The Bullets, 23-29 and in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, are struggling to make the playoffs.
They begin the most difficult part of their season Thursday in Indiana in the first game of a seven-game trip that Coach Dick Motta says is the key to the whole season.
After Indiana, the Bullets will play at Milwaukee, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Although Ferry will not reveal who he is after, it is clear that the first priority is a shooting guard, someone they can turn to for instant offense. Williamson would fulfill that requirement.
He has had contract and weight problems with the Nets, and they say they are definitely going to trade him before the Feb. 15 trading deadline. The Bullets are one of the few teams willing to take a chance on the 6-foot-3, 27-year-old Williamson who has a 22.2-point NBA career scoring average.
He is averaging 17.8 points as a reserve this season.
The Bullets also feel they could use some help in the front court. Kupchak has not come around from back surgery and Dave Corzine hasn't developed into the player they had hoped for. That leaves 6-7 Greg Ballard as the only reliable substitute.
Lucas, a 6-9 strongman capable of playing center or forward, wants out of Portland and the Blazers are reportedly ready to deal him.
Lucas, also 27, has a 19.1-point NBA career scoring average. He is averaging 14.7 points this season as a part-time starter.