The uncertain physical status of forward John Williams and a contract impasse with guard Ledell Eackles have combined to curtail possible trades, Washington Bullets general manager John Nash said yesterday.
Nash held exploratory talks with several teams at the National Basketball Association summer meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., last weekend, but nothing materialized. No trade was made during the get-together of league owners, general managers and coaches.
"It may take us into preseason [training camps begins Oct. 5] before we determine our real needs," Nash said. "We have to decide if Williams can play for us in the frontcourt, and we have to get Eackles' contract resolved before evaluating our guards."
Williams and Eackles have been ticklish situations for Nash, who replaced Bob Ferry as general manager in June.
Williams, who underwent extensive knee surgery in December, has failed to adhere to his therapy program at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic in his hometown of Los Angeles. The Bullets began withholding his pay July 10, and he has been fined more than $100,000.
With Williams not answering calls from team management, Bullets owner Abe Pollin had planned a trip to California in an attempt to resolve the problem. But Pollin has not set a time or place for meeting with the forward and/or his agent, Fred Slaughter.
Nash had cut off talks with Eackles' agent, Ed Sapir of New Orleans, last month after Sapir requested a four-year contract worth $8 million for the third-year guard who averaged 13.5 points last season while playing a supporting role to Jeff Malone.
After Malone was part of June's three-way trade that brought Sacramento Kings center/forward Pervis Ellison to Washington, Eackles was projected into a starting role, and Sapir wants his client paid accordingly.
I'm hoping to speak to the judge [Sapir] this week," said Nash, who seems determined to cut Sapir's demands in half. Eackles reportedly earned $350,000 last season.