Gugliotta is checking out Barcelona


Tom Gugliotta, the Washington Bullets' first-round draft choice, has crossed Trieste, Italy, off his basketball shopping list and reportedly is exploring the possibility of playing this season in Barcelona, Spain.

On Friday, Gugliotta told the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer that Stefanel of Trieste had withdrawn the two-year contract offer it made in his visit last month.

Gugliotta's agent, Richard Howell of Atlanta, said yesterday he had not heard officially from Stefanel that the team no longer was interested in the All-Atlantic Coast Conference forward. Howell noted, however, that there were "at least three other offers [from Europe] currently on the table."

"As of right now, Tom has not signed to play anywhere," said Howell, declining to say whether a visit to Spain was planned. "All I can say is that Tom is still keeping all his options open."

Howell added that Gugliotta feels "no sense of urgency" about signing with a professional team from Europe, where most leagues open the regular season in late September.

"I'm sure the European teams feel some urgency on their part and grow impatient in negotiations, but that's not our problem," he said.

According to Gugliotta, the recent offer from Barcelona exceeded the one from Trieste, reportedly a two-year deal worth slightly more than $2 million.

Gugliotta, the sixth player chosen in the NBA draft, rejected a five-year, $10.7 million package from the Bullets. That offer disappeared July 17, when Washington matched the New York Knicks' six-year, $17.1 million offer to veteran forward Harvey Grant, placing them far above the team salary cap for the coming season.

The Bullets' last offer to Gugliotta for the 1992-93 season was $780,000, the salary slot presently filled by guard/forward Ledell Eackles, who has not been offered a new contract.

But Gugliotta apparently has not written off the Bullets and the NBA. A team official said that Howell and Bullets general manager John Nash spoke on four days last week. Nash could not be reached for comment.

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