PORTLAND, ORE., JUNE 15 -- The Washington Bullets offered former Philadelphia 76ers general manager John Nash their general manager position, which he will likely accept, two sources said today.
Nash appears to be the only person the Bullets are considering. Though the club said publicly that there are several people being looked at for the post, inquiries around the league have uncovered no additional names or meetings.
Club owner Abe Pollin did not return phone calls. Nash's wife answered the phone at their suburban Philadelphia home today and said the couple was planning a vacation "to themselves" this weekend and her husband was unavailable to talk.
There was a rumor that Jerry Reynolds, the former Sacramento Kings coach and current director of player personnel, might have been contacted by the Bullets. But a coach with ties to the Kings said, "I wouldn't think he's going anywhere."
Nash was in Philadelphia yesterday at the 76ers' offices. One report had him cleaning out his desk, but that could not be confirmed. He is under contract with the 76ers until July 1.
The offer completes a whirlwind of activity begun with the resignation Tuesday of Bob Ferry as general manager. Since then, the Bullets have beaten out the Denver Nuggets, who were also vying for Nash's services. The Denver Post reported today that the Nuggets now are pursuing former Chicago Bulls coach Doug Collins. An independent source confirmed this yesterday.
Nash withdrew his name from consideration for the Denver position Thursday.
(One unusual factor that may be in Washington's favor is Nash's love of horses and horse racing and thus his desire to stay in this region. He lives on a 7 1/2-acre farm in Pennsylvania, and before taking the 76ers' job he worked at Atlantic City Race Course, which is owned by 76ers owner Harold Katz.)
In nearly four seasons under Nash, Philadelphia has gradually resculpted its team, building around all-pro forward Charles Barkley. The 76ers had a 54-28 record last season and won the Atlantic Division, but were bounced from the playoffs in the second round by Chicago.
During Nash's tenure, the 76ers engineered trades to acquire shooting guard Hersey Hawkins (a draft-day trade with the Clippers in 1988), point guard Johnny Dawkins (acquired from San Antonio for guard Maurice Cheeks, swingman David Wingate and center Chris Welp last summer) and forward Rick Mahorn (purchased from Minnesota for first-round draft picks last fall).
"He's never been the type of person who's on the road, so to speak," Ferry said of Nash. "We never talked about things like that. When you get down to basketball, we never talked."
"I always had a great deal of respect for John," said former 76ers public relations director Dave Coskey, now working for the Trump Plaza Casino. "He always seemed knowledgeable from the basketball side. Noboby in our organization doubted that.
"What earned me more respect for John was his integrity. John made my life a whole lot easier because of his accessibility. No matter how bad things could be, John always said, 'Don't worry about it; we'll take care of it.' It's a real comfortable thing to have somebody like that, instead of someone flying off the handle all the time."
If Nash neglected one thing -- a frequently heard complaint from some in the Philadelphia organization -- it was not getting a durable big man to go with Barkley and Mahorn. Of course, this also is one of Washington's perennial needs.