The Detroit Pistons yesterday signed former Bullet guard Larry Wright to a two-year contract and compensated the Bullets by giving them a third-round draft choice in 1981 and a second-round pick in 1983. The Bullets had been asking for a first-round pick and negotiations had gone on for weeks.
The 6-foot-1 Wright, 25, was a free agent, after playing the previous four seasons with the Bullets.
Wright said the Bullets had offered him a contract for this season at a raise over the $125,000 he earned last year, but they wouldn't guarantee the contract.
"The money was okay, but I wanted a guarantee," Wright said. He added that the Pistons guaranteed the first year of his contract and he is being paid more than the Bullets offered him.
"I just waited and didn't say anythijng, but it shouldn't have taken this long for me to get a job," Wright said. "The compensation thing kept people away.
"I never expected to end up with Detroit, but I'm just glad to be working. I don't think things are as bad here as everyone thinks they are, anyway."
The Pistons (3-14) have the second worst record in the league and have a dire need for a playmaking guard.
General Manager Jack McCloskey showed interest in two free agents he felt could fill that need: Wright and Ricky Sobers, who recently re-signed with Chicago. The compensation the Bulls were asking was too high for Detroit to sign Sobers and McCliskey did not want to sign him and leave it up to National Basketball Association Commissioner Larry O'Brien to award compensation.
Wright worked out with the Pistons yesterday and will play tonight against the Bulls at the Silverdome.
To make room for Wright on their roster, the Pistons waived rookie guard Tony Fuller.
The Bullets are in Indiana tonight for a game against the Pacers and, once again they will be without forward Bob Dandridge, still bothered by an injured knee and out indefinitely.
The Bullets said yesterday they have no plans to put Dandridge on the injured list, a move that would allow them to add another player.
Dandridge missed 37 games last season because of various injuries, the most serious a compressed nerve in his right leg that eventually required surgery. This year, he injured his right knee when he collided with Campy Russell and Ray Williams in a game in New York Nov. 1. The injury has been diagnosed as a strain to the outside cartilage.
After missing a four-game home stand, Dandridge did not accompany the team on its current three-game road trip. The Bullets lost to the Boston Celtics, 93-86, Wednesday. Dandridge hasn't worked out with the team since the injury, but he gets daily therapy.
"His knee is stiff," said trainer John Lally. "He has a strained lateral cartilage and there is swelling and fluid in the joint."
Dandridge said the knee is sore and, until the swelling goes down, he is in too much discomfort to play.