The Washington Bullets are expected to announce the signing of Jeff Ruland at a news conference today, it has been learned.

Ruland, who is 6 feet 10 and 240 pounds, played in Barcelona, Spain, this past season after leaving Iona a year early. The Bullets acquired him a year ago from Golden State for a second-round choice in this year's draft.

The Bullets had an abundance of big men last season and General Manager Bob Ferry was uncertain if Ruland would have been able to help the team. But with the retirement of Wes Unseld, there now is a place for Ruland on the roster. The Bullets are hoping Ruland, Rick Mahorn and Mitch Kupchak will be able to handle the center spot vacated by Unseld.

Kupchak is a free agent, but Ferry said he is confident the Bullets will re-sign him.

The trade for Ruland was made because, Ferry said, he was the best center the Bullets had a chance at getting either last season or this season, based on where they were picking in the draft.

The two top centers in the upcoming June 10 draft appear to be 6-10 Steve Johnson of Oregon State and 7-foot Alton Lister of Arizona State.