Contract negotiations between Walt Williams and the
Sacramento Kings broke off acrimoniously yesterday after the former University of Maryland All-American rejected a seven-year, $14.7 million offer.
The offer to Williams, the Kings' No. 1 choice and the seventh player selected in June's NBA draft, came less than two days after LaPhonso Ellis, the No. 5 selection, signed a five-year, $13 million deal with the Denver Nuggets.
"It was always our approach that we wanted the other guys in front of him to sign," said Len Elmore, another former Terrapins All-American, who is representing Williams. "Now, one of the closest guys in the draft to Walt signs. This is almost a spit in Walt's face."
According to Elmore, yesterday's offer was the third tendered by the Kings in the past month. The first one, which came in early September, was a four-year, $6.4 million deal. That was recently raised to a four-year package worth an estimated $1.9 million a year.
Elmore said that, in the past week, the Kings signed two free agents, former Providence forward Marty Conlon and former Memphis State guard Vincent Askew, and as a result, had less money available under the salary cap.
"It's tantamount to an ultimatum," Elmore said of the offer. "They got me out here under the guise of negotiations, and there have been no negotiations."
Team president Rick Benner said: "As far as I'm concerned, we're in a little bit of limbo."
Williams said that he was upset that the Kings didn't take into account his participation in a rookie camp in Utah earlier this summer. "I was proud to be a Sacramento King," Williams said. "I was trying to do my part."