The Washington Bullets surprised a good many professional basketball people with the selection of Tyrone Bogues in the first round of the NBA draft Monday. Yet, in the hours before making the pick, the Bullets had been working on several stunning deals, including one that might have involved Manute Bol.

The Bullets and Golden State talked about the possibility of trading Bol for the Warriors' Purvis Short, a 6-foot-7 forward/guard who has perennially been one of the league's leading scorers.

The Pacific Division team recently hired former Milwaukee coach Don Nelson as a vice president and made him a partial owner. During his time in the Midwest, Nelson became quite enamored of Bol. Sources say the Warriors tried to get the 7-6 shot blocker in exchange for Short.

"We talked to them {the Bullets} about some things but I don't know how close any of them were," said Warriors assistant coach/scout Jack McMahon.

According to league sources, in a swirl of long-distance conversations over the weekend leading up to the draft, the Bullets came close to making trades that could have brought them quality players such as Lafayette Lever, Ricky Pierce, Kelly Tripucka or Dell Curry.

"We had a busy day {Monday}," Coach Kevin Loughery said, "but I thought the situation the night before might have led to some things."

Yesterday, the Bullets' brain trust was merely trying to catch its breath, possibly before jumping back into further trade talks. Loughery and assistant coach Bill Blair spent the day at TPC at Avenel golf course, while General Manager Bob Ferry slept in for much of the afternoon. Sleep was a needed commodity, given that Ferry had stayed up until 5 a.m. Monday trying to make a draft day deal, according to Loughery.

The linchpin for all the Bullets' hopes was a proposed deal with the Denver Nuggets that would have sent guard Jeff Malone and forward Jay Vincent west in exchange for point guard Lever and forward Danny Schayes. Washington backed out after the Indiana Pacers, picking one spot before the Bullets in the No. 11 position, took UCLA forward/guard Reggie Miller, the man the Bullets hoped would replace Malone.

"Let's just say that didn't help things," said Nuggets player personnel director Pete Babcock. "They said that Reggie Miller was their last resort. They explained to us that they'd exhausted all their other options."

Another Western Conference source thought otherwise, saying, "Maybe they were looking for a reason not to make the deal . . . got nervous or something and decided they didn't want to do it."

One of those options mentioned by Babcock was rumored to be Milwaukee guard Pierce, winner of the NBA's sixth man award for the 1986-87 season. According to sources, Washington was willing to give up its first-round pick in exchange for Pierce, but the Bucks turned it down at the last minute.

"It was one of many things we looked at, but no one thought there were any guarantees at that spot," said a member of the Bucks organization. "Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make and, anyway, it's a long summer."

It was reported that Denver Coach Doug Moe was livid at the Bullets' selection of Bogues. One reason why was another potential deal considered by the Nuggets that would have sent guard Maurice Martin to Detroit, provided Denver had been able to draft Bogues, the 5-3 Wake Forest playmaker.

The Utah Jazz, picking 15th, also was interested in Bogues and dangled names, including that of Tripucka, a two-time all-star with Detroit who struggled last season in his first year out west, and Curry, the Jazz's first-round pick in the 1986 draft.

Lever, attending a basketball camp in Fresno, Calif., was reportedly upset at nearly being traded from Denver; the reaction of Jeff Malone was decidedly mixed.

"I'm still a Bullet, so I don't want to start talking crazy," he said. "I'm still loyal to the team."

An all-star the past two seasons, Malone has often joked about what it would be like playing on different teams and with other players around the NBA. However, his close brush with the reality of a trade came as a bit of a jolt to the four-year veteran.

"It was very shocking to me yesterday {Monday}," Malone said. "I was doing some business and hadn't read the papers so I didn't know anything about a trade and my cable {television} is out so I didn't see the start of the draft. Then I went out to C.J.'s {Bullets forward Charles Jones} and Moses {Malone} asked me if I'd heard about the rumors, so I turned on the TV and people like {WTBS announcer} Rick Barry were talking about it.

"It hit me then because it came up so suddenly, but that's the nature of the business. I was stunned yesterday but then I thought that if it happened it might not be a bad move, it would be a fresh change. I think I would enjoy Denver's style of play; out west you run more than in the east. I was planning on coming in a little thinner than I've been before; maybe that would be a good move. I would rather be here -- I think we'll win more games than Denver would right now -- but if the trade does go through I'm ready."

Babcock said that despite their interest in Bogues, at present the Nuggets don't plan on continuing their talks with Washington, probably leaving the Bullets to play the hand they've been dealt.

"We needed a lead guard and we got a player that we liked," said Loughery. "We felt we had to fill that need; I'm not disappointed."

The coach did express concern at the improvement made by other teams in the Eastern Conference.

In particular, the Chicago Bulls seemed to have the best draft of any NBA team, picking up forwards Scottie Pippen, Derrick McKey and Ricky Winslow along with highly regarded guard Tony White.

The Detroit Pistons, one game away from this season's NBA finals, didn't have a first-round pick but came up with center William Bedford -- the No. 6 selection last June -- in a trade with the Phoenix Suns. The Atlanta Hawks, already stocked with a number of formidable bodies, took an international lark in the later rounds, selecting players from China, Greece, Spain, Italy and Yugoslavia with their last five picks.

"The teams that had more than one pick, like Chicago, really made the most of them," Loughery said. "We didn't have them but this was a great time for it because I thought all along that it was a terrific draft. There were more players I liked than any time I can remember."