EMMITSBURG, MD., OCT. 8 -- The $2.8 million offer to Washington Bullets holdout guard Ledell Eackles has been taken off the negotiating table, General Manager John Nash said today.
The club exercised an option to extend its mandatory qualifying offer to Eackles until Feb. 1. That offer is for $312,000, a 25 percent raise over the $250,000 Eackles made last season.
Eackles has been asking for $8 million over four years, but his agent, Eddie Sapir, has indicated he could start negotiations at a lower figure if the Bullets up their offer.
"We made an offer a couple of weeks ago that decreased as time passed," Nash said. "We haven't made any offer since then. So it's safe to say our offer today is not as high as it was in July. That it has been reduced . . . the longer we go, the more we're going to have to consider other options. And I've communicated that to the Judge, and he understands that."
Said owner Abe Pollin, in attendance at practice today: "I've told Ledell that I think he has tremendous ability -- that I think he could be a superstar in this league. I hope he does. If he does become a superstar we would pay him accordingly. But he's not there yet. He knows it, and I know it."
Williams Still Missing
No new news on the John Williams situation. The forward still hasn't shown up for a mandatory physical which he was scheduled to take last Thursday in Washington.
Pollin was part of a considerable portion of the Bullets' braintrust -- Vice Chairman Jerry Sachs and Executive Vice President Susan O'Malley were also in attendance -- at morning practice.
Said Pollin of Williams's disappearance: "I don't think it's a positive impact on anybody. One of these days, if he doesn't become available and he doesn't act responsibly, we'll just have to write him off. We're going to play without him, and we'll do fine. He's a great player but there comes a point . . . "
There's no line in the sand, Pollin said.
"I don't know what his story is," Pollin said. "I don't know until we find out what's causing his not showing up. Until we find out I really don't have any date deadline."
Minor Injuries Mount
Harvey Grant missed his second day of practice with shin splints; Michel Bonebo missed his fourth with a pulled hamstring. Lenzie Howell was hit in the nose by Mark Alarie and had ice on his face for the rest of the morning practice.
Howell worked out this afternoon; Alarie wasn't so lucky. He had to go back to Washington this afternoon for a root canal.
Darrell Walker was bothered by his hamstrings, but worked out in the morning. Charles Jones sat out both practices with a slightly pulled hamstring. Rookie A.J. English is bothered by a sore right knee, but is practicing on it.