Washington Wizards General Manager Wes Unseld said yesterday that he has been in contact with first-round draft pick Richard Hamilton but did not inform head coach Gar Heard about his conversations with the rookie shooting guard.
A day earlier, Heard had expressed concern that he had not heard from Hamilton in more than two weeks. He also believed that no other member of the organization had spoken to the still-unsigned Hamilton.
Unseld said he has spoken with Hamilton regularly in the past few weeks and that Hamilton is with family members in Connecticut.
"I have been in touch with Richard," said Unseld, who spoke with Hamilton again yesterday. "I never mentioned it to Gar because our conversations did not involve Richard signing a contract."
Former Georgetown University coach John Thompson interviewed Hamilton yesterday on his daily radio show on WTEM-980.
"I have been in communication with Wes Unseld and I think we have a personal relationship and we're doing a good job of communicating with each other," Hamilton said. "I haven't spoken to Gar Heard."
Three days ago, Unseld said he had not spoken to Hamilton. Unseld amended his statement yesterday, saying he had not spoken to Hamilton about contract negotiations because Hamilton does not currently have an agent.
Unseld said their conversations have been about general issues, including Hamilton's rehabilitation of the right ankle he sprained three weeks ago when he was training with the U.S. Olympic qualifying team in Puerto Rico.
"My ankle is doing real well right now," Hamilton told Thompson. "I'm back at the University of Connecticut rehabbing and working out. I'm doing a great job of rehabbing it. There's no pain. It's all about getting the strength back in it. I'm working out, running on it, jumping and shooting. I'm there, I'm ready to play and go ahead and have fun and make these Wizards fans happy."
Hamilton has yet to sign a contract, although negotiations are expected to resume next week when Hamilton plans to hire a new agent. He fired his original agent, Al Irby, two weeks ago for personal reasons. Before firing Irby, Hamilton agreed to a three-year, $5.9 million contract, the maximum amount available for the seventh overall draft pick.
Hamilton, an all-American who led Connecticut to the NCAA championship in March, said he is eager to get things finalized so he can begin preparations for the upcoming season.
"This is where I want to be," Hamilton said of Washington. "I want to be in an organization that's rebuilding. A lot of special things are going to happen. I look to this year to make things happen and get the team to the playoffs."
Second-round pick Calvin Booth also is unsigned but negotiations are continuing, his agent, Mark Terminy, said.