If ever a player made an inconspicuous entry onto a team, Charles Jones, signed to a 10-day contract by the Washington Bullets, did here tonight.
The SuperSonics usually play before many empty seats in the Kingdome but tonight the season's second largest crowd -- 12,203 -- transformed the building into what the rest of the Bullets called the "Wiz-Dome."
The occasion was the return of Gus Williams to the city where he led the SuperSonics to the 1979 NBA championship. It was Williams' first appearance here since his trade to the Bullets last summer, and it was big news. On one local television station, Williams' return was the lead story of the evening.
Meanwhile, Williams and his teammates familiarized themselves with their newest teammate -- Jones, a 6-foot-9 forward who replaces guard Frank Johnson on the roster. Johnson, placed on injured reserve, suffered a broken bone in his left foot Thursday in the Bullets' 128-126 victory over Detroit at Capital Centre.
Jones was picked up from the Tampa Bay Thrillers of the Continental Basketball Association, where he had played 24 games after being released by the Chicago Bulls. The brother of present NBA players Caldwell Jones of Chicago and Major Jones of Detroit joined the team here this afternoon but did not play.
According to Jones, he was averaging about eight points and nine rebounds a game for the Thrillers. "I can just do what I do best, that's what I did for Tampa and I'll do the same thing here," he said. "Tampa was in first place when I got there and in first when I left. Basically all I can do is play basketball."
According to Bullets Coach Gene Shue, the addition of Jones is "just something temporary. Bob (Ferry, Washington's general manager) has been looking at different players and we're still uncertain about our big people."
For that reason, the Bullets chose Jones instead of a guard to replace Johnson. "Our track record with our front court people hasn't been too good," Shue said. "Dudley Bradley will move up to the third guard and Tom Sewell will start to get some playing time."
Sewell, a rookie, was not aware of his increased role until about an hour before tonight's game but nevertheless said he'd be ready to play. "I've sort of forgotten what it's like to play, some of the things you can do," he said. "In the back of my mind, though, I know I can do it."
Forward Cliff Robinson, who had missed 15 straight games, played tonight against Seattle; Jeff Ruland missed his 14th game in the last 15.
Ruland said that the flexibility in his strained right shoulder has improved greatly. But he will not play again until, at the earliest, next week in Texas.