The Washington Bullets yesterday acquired forward Him Chones and guard Brad Holland from Los Angeles, plus the Lakers' second-round draft choice in 1982 and their first-round pick in 1983, in exchange for not matching the Lakers' seven-year, $900,000-a-year contract offer to free agent Mitch Kupchak.
By matching the Lakers' offer, the Bullets either could have kept Kupchak, a five-year veteran, or dealt him to another team in the National Basketball Association.
"This was the best alternative we had," said Bob Ferry, the Bullet general manager. "We picked up an esperienced center/forward, an excellent shooting guard and two draft picks. Any time an organization can accumulate draft picks it gives you added power, not only for the prospects of drafting but also for making other trades."
Yesterday's deal gives Washington three second-round choices, but no first, in 1982 and two first and three seconds in 1983.
Chones, 31, a nine-year pro, averaged 10.8 points and 8.0 rebounds as a starting power forward last season. He played in all 82 games, for the sixth consecutive season.
Holland, drafted in the first round by Los Angeles in 1979 following his graduation from UCLA, appeared in only 41 games, averaging 3.2 points.
"I'm looking forward to playing with the Bullets," he said. "i feel I can contribute to their team.
Under the right-of-first refusal system initiated this year in the NBA, the Bullets had 15 days, after receiving a copy of Kupchak's offer sheet from the Lakers, to elect one of three options.
The could have matched the offer and kept Kupchak; they could have done nothing and let him go to the Lakers without receiving any compensation; or they could have matched the offer, then traded him to another team.
The Bullets reportedly had been talking with the Cleveland Cavaliers about trading Kupchak for Mike Mitchell, a 6-7 forward three years in the pros. The New York Nicks and the Seattle SuperSonics also were supposed to have been interested in Kupchak.
In the end, a compromise was struck, with the Lakers giving up the players and the draft choices in exchange for the Bullets' not matching the offer.
Some observers felt that the Bullets got the better part of the deal. Why would the Lakers give up so much?
"I don't think they gave up any more than they could afford," Ferry said. "I think they gave up a lot, but I think they could afford to. They wanted Mitch that bad that they didn't want to take any chances that they would lose him."
Ferry said the acquisition of Chones does not mean the Bullets are moving away from building with younger players. "Not at all," Ferry said.
The Bullets' 15-day period to esercise their options on Kupchak's offer sheet would have expired Friday.
"I had decided two weeks ago when I signed the offer sheet that I wasn't going to be playing in Washington, that I would be playing in L.A.," said the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Kupchak, who averaged 12.5 points and 6.9 rebounds last year. "Before then, I wanted to stay in Washington.
"I'm glad the waiting is over. If the Lakers want someone who can rebound and run, then I think I can help them."
Kupchak has been, for the most part, the Bullets' sixth man since coming into the NBA from the University of North Carolina five years ago.
Holland, described by Los Angeles General Manager Bill Sharman as ready to blossom, said, "I feel real good about being traded from Los Angeles.
"I feel the Bullets want me and they'll let me play. Hopefully, this will be the real beginning. In Los Angeles, I didn't play very much at all. I'm looking at it as an exciting new experience for me and my wife. We're just going to think positive."
Said Sharman, "Brad Holland has a fine future in the Nba. Our coaches feel in the past two years he has learned about the league and served his apprenticeship. It's difficult in this league to acquire a quality player without giving up quality in return."
Chones, a 6-foot-11, 220-pounder who left Marquette to sign as one of the American Basketball Association's "harship" cases, played his first five years in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was obtained by Los Angeles in exchange for Dave Robisch and a future draft choice before the start of the 197-80 season. He played two seasons in the ABA, sigining originally with the New York Nets.
"Chones' power forward in 1980 was one reason we won the (NBA) title," Sharman said.