The NBA expansion teams that begin play next season, the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets, will stock their rosters today when each club selects from a group of players left unprotected by the 23 teams that competed in the league the past season.
The Hornets will select 11 players -- one fewer than the Heat, because Charlotte won a coin flip with Miami June 13 -- and will pick eighth to Miami's ninth in next week's league draft of collegians and other amateurs.
Though each NBA team was able to protect eight players, and didn't have to protect free agents, each team must lose one player. The Washington Bullets have left their 1987 first-round choice, Tyrone Bogues, and forward Jay Murphy on the unprotected list, and it figures that Bogues, who starred at Wake Forest, in the Charlotte area, will be chosen. Still, with both expansion teams needing everything, it's not certain what they'll take.
The teams will conduct business by conference call this morning, then have their selections announced at 1 p.m. by NBA Commissioner David Stern.
It's hard to speculate on what will happen. But trades are always a possibility, as a team could choose to deal proven talent to other clubs in exchange for a stockpile of draft choices for future years.
But as Miami's director of player personnel, Stu Inman, told the Associated Press yesterday, having two teams taking players as opposed to one -- as Dallas did in 1980 -- further dilutes the talent available.
"We're hoping these players will help us A to C," he said. "You have to worry about A to C before you start worrying about D to Z."
There is some talent available. Utah's Kelly Tripucka, a former all-star, had a season of inactivity in Salt Lake City, finding himself at the end of Jazz Coach Frank Layden's bench. Dallas' 7-foot bench-warming center, Bill Wennington, likely will be picked, as will New Jersey's guard Dwayne (Pearl) Washington, the 1986 first-round draft choice from Syracuse.
Other talented players available include Cleveland guard and former Virginia Tech star Dell Curry, Atlanta swingman Randy Wittman, and Golden State guard Terry Teagle. Big men left unprotected include Milwaukee center Paul Mokeski, New York forward Pat Cummings and Philadelphia forward Mark McNamara.
And if the teams want to take chances on former all-stars in need of another chance, there are Denver's Calvin Natt, the Los Angeles Clippers' Marques Johnson and Norm Nixon, New Jersey's Otis Birdsong, Philadelphia's Andrew Toney and Phoenix's Walter Davis.
Minneapolis and Orlando, the other expansion franchises, will join the league for the 1989-90 season. UNPROTECTED PLAYERS
Atlanta -- Scott Hastings, Chris Washburn, Randy Wittman, Leon Wood.
Boston -- Dirk Minniefield, Fred Roberts (Dennis Johnson is also unprotected, but will not be taken because of a trade for draft choice with Charlotte and Miami).
Chicago -- Mike Brown, Granville Waiters.
Cleveland -- Kent Benson, Dell Curry, Johnny Rogers, Phil Hubbard.
Dallas -- Steve Alford, Bill Wennington, Uwe Blab.
Denver -- T.R. Dunn, Michael Brooks, Calvin Natt.
Detroit -- To be announced.
Golden State -- Steve Harris, Dave Hoppen, Bert McDonald, Terry Teagle, Mark Wade, Tony White, Jerome Whitehead.
Houston -- Cedric Maxwell, Robert Reid, Andre Turner.
Indiana -- John Long, Scott Skiles, Greg Dreiling, Clint Wheeler.
Los Angeles Clippers -- Claude Gregory, Norm Nixon, Darnell Valentine, Eric White, Marques Johnson.
Los Angeles Lakers -- To be announced.
Milwaukee -- Paul Mokeski, John Stroeder.
New Jersey -- Otis Birdsong, Chris Engler, Dwayne (Pearl) Washington.
New York -- Rick Carlisle, Pat Cummings, Sedric Toney.
Philadelphia -- David Henderson, Gerald Henderson, Albert King, Mark McNamara, Andrew Toney, Hansi Gnad.
Phoenix -- Jeff Cook, Winston Crite, Walter Davis, Ron Moore, Bernard Thompson, James Bailey, Charles Pittman.
Portland -- Michael Holton, Jerry Sichting, Ronnie Murphy, Lester Fonville.
Sacramento -- Conner Henry, Michael Jackson, Mike McGee, Jawann Oldham, Terry Tyler.
San Antonio -- Pete Meyers, Jon Sundvold, Ed Nealy, David Greenwood, Ricky Wilson, Richard Rellford.
Seattle -- Kevin Williams, Danny Young.
Utah -- Rickey Green, Kelly Tripucka, Scott Roth, Darrell Griffith.
Washington -- Tyrone Bogues, Jay Murphy.