Jeff Malone, the Washington Bullets' No. 1 draft choice, is not likely to be present at the opening of the team's training camp Friday at Fort Meade, according to General Manager Bob Ferry
Malone, a 6-foot-4 guard, averaged 26.8 points a game for Mississippi State last season and was widely considered the best shooter in the draft. Coach Gene Shue has often remarked that in order for the Bullets to compete consistently in the extremely tough Eastern Division, they must have better outside shooting.
"We're still negotiating with Malone, but we're not there yet," Ferry said. "But he's not going anywhere. His only other option is to sit out the year."
Malone is in Starkville, Miss., working on his game, said his attorney, Fred Slaughter. Slaughter, who is based in Santa Monica, Calif., said the Bullets did not begin negotiating in earnest until a week ago.
"All they started out with was the money required by the league's collective-bargaining agreement, $60,000 or $70,000," Slaughter said. "It wasn't until last week that we got anywhere . . . But we're still not in the ballpark yet."
Slaughter also is representing the Portland Trail Blazers' first-round choice, Houston's Clyde Drexler.
The Bullets have already signed two well-regarded rookies, UDC's Michael Britt and UCLA's Darren Daye. Shue said he is especially high on Daye, a 6-foot-8 forward and a third-round pick.
Of Britt, Ferry said, "He has potential but we want to see him get stronger. He really needs to build up."