The Bullets have given Dick Motta permission to talk to other National Basketball Association teams about a coaching job.
It was learned that Motta, who has one year remaining on his contract with Washington, was in San Antonio last night talking to the Spurs about an apparent vacancy.
"Dick has been given permission to talk to other teams about employment," Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry said last night."I don't know what he wants to do, but I don't think he really wants to come back here."
In another coaching development yesterday, the San Diego Clipper job opened up when Gene Shue was not rehired. Owner Irv Levin and Shue, onetime Maryland star, called it separation by "mutual agreement."
Shue had been entering the option year of his contract.
There was immediate speculation that Shue, who coached the Bullets from 1966 to 1973 while they were in Baltimore, might replace Motta here.
"If Dick doesn't return, then I'd be interested in Shue," Ferry said.
"I feel it is in my best interests at this time to pursue other opportunities in the coaching profession," said the 47-year-old Shue, choosing not to be specific.
Bullet owner Abe Pollin said last week that he was "reevaluating the coaching situation," after it had become clear that Motta did not particularly want to continue with the team next season.
There are coaching vacanies in Dallas, Detroit, San Diego and San Antonio.
Westerner Motta has indicated that he wants to return west.
The Spurs fired Doug Moe late this season and replaced him with the general manager and assistant coach, Bob Bass. Reportedly, the decision has been made to hire a new coach.
Detroit fired Dick Vitale in early season and replaced him with his assistant, Richie Adubato, but has announced that Adubato will not be asked back next season.
Dallas is the NBA's new expansion team.
Shue originally left the Bullets when they moved from Baltimore because he said he didn't want to make the move.
But he moved to Philadelphia the following season to coach the 76ers. They were the NBA runners-up in 1977, yet Shue was fired six games into the 1977-78 season.
For 1978-79, Shue moved to San Diego and led the Clippers to a 43-39 record in their first year there. They were 35-47 this season.
Shue was a 523-520 coaching record for 14 NBA campaigns.
Levin declined to say whom he had in mind to replace Shue, but said he would name a new coach "far enough in advance of the college draft to permit him to be involved in those important decisions."
"We plan to interview a number of qualified candidates," Levin said.
Motta was unavailable for comment last night, but he said last week that he wanted the security of a long-term contract and if he couldn't get it with the Bullets, he wanted permission to seek a job elsewhere.
By giving him permission to work a deal for himself, Pollin has apparently decided to do some looking himself.