One day after one of the best Washington Bullets' drafts in recent years, General Manager Bob Ferry said he is contemplating major trades to improve the team further.
"I just have to make the right deal," said Ferry, who would not say who he was trying to move or whom he was interested in acquiring.
The Bullets have been trying for a year to trade guard Kevin Grevey, but his contract has scared off would-be takers. He has two years remaining on a guaranteed $350,000-a-year package.
Grevey, 29, played in 41 games last season, 11 as a starter. He averaged only 7.2 points and shot 39 percent. After the season, he said he doubted he would be back with the Bullets. The Bullets agreed, but so far have been unable to make a deal.
With their first pick Tuesday, the 10th selection overall, they drafted Mississippi State guard Jeff Malone, who was considered by most scouts the best shooter in the draft. That probably sealed Grevey's fate with the Bullets.
Malone was the nation's third-leading scorer last season with a 26.8 average and shot 53 percent from the field. In one stretch, he scored 38 points against Mississippi, 35 against LSU and 39 against Alabama. He is the fifth-leading scorer in Southeastern Conference history.
In the 1980-81 season, Malone, who is 6 feet 4, averaged 18.6 points a game for a team that scored only 49.5.
"I really think he's going to be a star--not just a good player, but a star," said Ferry. "He's certainly got star quality. He has the great shot and he knows how to get it.
"The thing that makes him so beautiful is that he plays defense, too. Normally, when you have an offensive talent like that, you don't have him guard the other team's top scorer, too, but that's what Malone did. We had to take him."
Ferry said if he hadn't chosen Malone he would have taken forward Leo Rautins of Syracuse, eventually selected by the Philadelphia 76ers seven picks later.
"I think he's going to be just a great player and I would have loved to have drafted him, but I couldn't pass up a shooter like Malone," Ferry said.
The draft and the acquisition of forward Tom McMillen--obtained from Atlanta for Washington's second No. 1 pick, Randy Wittman of Indiana--has left the Bullets with a dilemma.
Barring a trade, veterans Jeff Ruland, Rick Mahorn, Greg Ballard, Ricky Sobers, Frank Johnson, Don Collins and Charles Davis are set.
The Bullets are also high on forward-center Joe Kopicki, who was signed as a rookie free agent late last season, and Mike Gibson, a second-round draft choice last year who played in the Philippines and the Continental League. He was signed by the Bullets last week.
Malone and McMillen will make the team, and if Kopicki and Gibson are kept as well, that would leave only one spot on the 12-man roster. In competition for it would be rookies Michael Britt of the University of the District of Columbia and Guy Williams of Washington State, second-round draft choices Tuesday, and veterans Dave Batton, Carlos Terry, Bryan Warrick and Grevey.
Williams missed most of last season after knee surgery to repair a torn ligament. He will likely begin the season on the injured list, which will give the Bullets some temporary roster relief.
"I don't know what to expect from Williams because of his knee," said Ferry of the 6-9 forward-guard, who reminds his college coach, George Raveling, of Magic Johnson.
"We'll get him back here as soon as we can and start monitoring his rehabilitation," Ferry said. "Even before he knew we were going to draft him, he applied for Howard's law school. So if things don't work out with his knee, he knows what he wants to do. He's a really good kid and we're going to be patient."
Film clips of Williams and Britt show an endless succession of dunks that would make any highlight film. The two are exciting and fun to watch, and in the open court look virtually unstoppable.
"They're extremely exciting players, but that's only half the battle," said Ferry. "It'll be great if they're exciting and can make the team, too. Basketball is more than exciting plays and dunks. We'll see."
Britt said he is ready.
"I've always thought about playing for the Bullets," he said, "and being from this area, I want to do all I can to help them win. I think I can adjust to the NBA game without too much trouble. It's a dream I've had for a long time."
In another trade Tuesday, guard Dirk Minniefield of Kentucky, who was drafted in the second round by Dallas, was sent to New Jersey for second-round picks in 1986 and 1987. Forward Larry Micheaux of Houston was drafted in the second round by the Bulls, then traded for San Jose State's Chris McNealy, picked in the second round by Kansas City. The Kings also gave Chicago their second-round choice in 1984.
Guard Ennis Whatley of Alabama, the Kings' No. 1 pick and 13th overall, was sent to Chicago for forward Mark Olberding. The Bulls, meanwhile, picked guard Sidney Lowe of De Matha High School and North Carolina State with the first choice of the second round, then traded him to Indiana for guard Mitchell Wiggins of Florida State, the Pacers' second No. 1 pick and 23rd overall.