Saying that he is not intent on changing his team but "always trying to improve it," Washington Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry said he has had conversations with other NBA teams but is not close to making any deals.
"I'm always talking to people, just like every other GM in the league," he said during the Bullets' 120-108 exhibition loss to the New York Knicks in Richmond. "Only when you think things are going great and you're on a winning streak do you get off the phone even a little bit."
The Bullets' exhibition season thus far has been something less than great. The loss to the Knicks was the Bullets' fourth straight. Last Friday's 113-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers was seen by a number of league personnel, including the Denver Nuggets' director of player personnel, Pete Babcock, and assistant coach, Allan Bristow. The two admitted an interest in Washington guards Tyrone Bogues and Michael Adams as well as a longstanding affinity for all-star guard Jeff Malone.
Earlier last week, Ferry flew to Denver to see the Nuggets play. The combination of events led to speculation that the teams had resumed their trade talks from last summer, when Malone and forward Jay Vincent were nearly traded for Nuggets guard Lafayette Lever and forward Dan Schayes.
Babcock was to go to Richmond to see the Bullets play but instead returned to Denver. At Saturday's contest, Ferry said that no deal had been made between the teams.
"Anything can happen but nothing's going on," he said. "We're not close to anything; we're not far away from anything. There are times when you think you have something and you don't and times when nothing at all's happening and something breaks. You just can't say in this business -- a deal's not made until it's done."
Knicks General Manager Al Bianchi was in Milwaukee for the McDonald's Open, so he had no chance to talk face to face to Ferry about free agent Bernard King. As of last Friday night, there had been no discussions between them about possible compensation for King, who signed the Bullets' multimillion-dollar offer sheet Oct. 16.
The Knicks have until this Saturday to decide whether they'll exercise their right of first refusal and keep King. While admitting that he isn't privy to the Knicks' philosophy, Ferry intimated that King, the one-time league scoring champion, doesn't fit into the Knicks' plans.
"If they wanted him so much, why haven't they signed him?" he asked. "Why would they sign him, to sit on their bench?"
Coach Kevin Loughery is said to be eager for a resolution to the situation so he can determine the makeup of the team. After Saturday's game, he said that he might cut one or two players from the 15-man roster by Tuesday. Yesterday, however, he was reconsidering.
"We may do it; we may not," he said. "I'm still considering it."