Free agent guard Ennis Whatley, who started 72 games for the Washington Bullets last season, has told the Birmingham Post-Herald he's "looking for a job," but Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry said yesterday the team plans on bringing him to its training camp next month.

"We've said nothing to him like we didn't want him back," said Ferry. "In fact, I talked with his agent {Lance Luchnick} a week ago and told him so."

Whatley, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Alabama, began last season on the injured list. After he was activated Nov. 19, he averaged 8.5 points per game and led the Bullets in assists with an average of 5.4 per game. Those numbers decreased dramatically in the team's first-round playoff series against the Detroit Pistons.

The Bullets were eliminated after three games of the best-of-five series. Whatley, who started the the first two games of that series, was outplayed by the Pistons' all-star guard, Isiah Thomas, and averaged three points and three assists. Michael Adams and Frank Johnson played in his place in the third game.

"It was my first time in the playoffs and the Pistons just had more experience than we did," Whatley told the Post-Herald.

After the team's elimination, it was reported that Ferry and team officials were concerned that Whatley's play may have been affected by what they called a drinking problem. When management called him into its offices to discuss the situation, he denied that he had any problem.

It was thought that the Bullets had lost interest in him because of several factors: his ineffectiveness in the postseason, the return of oft-injured Johnson and the selection of another point guard, Tyrone Bogues of Wake Forest, with their first-round pick in the June draft.

Ferry denied that was the case.

"We're not turned off to him at all," he said. "We think he had a pretty damn good season until the playoffs."

Attempts to reach Luchnick were unsuccessful. In his interview with the Post-Herald, Whatley said that he "would love to play anywhere I can. It could be overseas. It's a hard predicament."

The NBA Players Association and the league have a moratorium on signing free agents and rookies. It is scheduled to end Oct. 1, a little more than a week before the Bullets are to open camp.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Al Bianchi, the new general manager of the New York Knicks, said that no one on the roster can be considered untouchable -- even former Georgetown all-America center Patrick Ewing.

According to Ferry, he had a brief discussion with the Knicks "two weeks ago, but they weren't talking about trading Patrick then and I haven't talked with them since."

Ferry said that despite Ewing's reported $3 million salary, there would "probably" be ways that the team could work him in under the guidelines of the NBA salary cap. But he added that the Knicks haven't "expressed any interest in trading him" to the Bullets.