General Manager Bob Ferry of the Washington Bullets said yesterday that he has talked with the Utah Jazz about acquiring forward Adrian Dantley, but said a deal for the former De Matha High School and Notre Dame star "isn't probable" unless the Bullets make a series of moves.
Ferry says he is actively looking for a trade. The Bullets have the 10th and 22nd picks in the first round of next week's NBA draft and two picks in the second round.
"We're exploring right now," he said. "Dantley is only one of 25 people in the league we've talked about. We're looking for someone who will make a difference, not an eighth, ninth or 10th man."
It was learned yesterday that when the Bullets first inquired about Dantley last season, the Jazz wanted Jeff Ruland and other considerations before serious negotiations could start.
Ruland, the Bullets' leading scorer (19.4), rebounder (11) and percentage shooter (55 percent), is the one player they will not trade.
According to a Jazz spokesman, its asking price hasn't changed, even though Dantley played in only 22 games last season because of an injured wrist that required surgery.
"It's sheer speculation that we're going to get Dantley," Ferry said. "Nothing will happen unless a lot of other things happen first. Adrian just wouldn't fit with the personnel we have now, so other moves would have to be made, too."
Dantley was averaging 30.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and shooting 58 percent last season before the injury sidelined him for the last 60 games.
He has two years remaining on a contract that pays him approximately $450,000 a year, about $100,000 more than any of the Bullets.
He is happy playing for the Jazz, but has indicated that if there is another team he would like to play for, it's the Bullets.
Although he is only 6 feet 4, Dantley is most effective at a low-post position, virtually the same area Ruland prefers. Dantley doesn't have the outside shot of Greg Ballard, nor is he known for his defense. Dantley is a scorer and a high-scoring forward is one of the Bullets' primary needs.
But with their first pick in the draft, the Bullets aren't expected to get such a player that way.
There are many players they like on the free agent list, such as forward Mike Mitchell of San Antonio, but free agents rarely end up with the team that makes the original offer unless a prior deal has been worked out.
Ferry said it is difficult to make a major trade.
"First, you only see some of the teams twice because of the scheduling, and so it's difficult to study a guy and really make an assessment of a him," Ferry said. "And secondly, with all of the coaching changes, I think teams will pretty much stay pat until the new coach can evaluate his talent.
"As a result, I just don't think you'll see any dramatic trades."