SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- His shot was as fluid as it was when he was the league's most improved player two years ago. And out of the corner of his eye, Washington Bullets coach Jim Lynam glanced at the other end of the court at Don MacLean and was pleased with what he saw.
"I think his could be an important role," Lynam said. "You have to have depth, or you're not going to hold up as a team."
But here's the rub: MacLean's shooting exhibition came after yesterday's first session of training camp, which he sat out because the 6-foot-10 restricted free agent has yet to turn in the Bullets' qualifying offer of $925,000.
MacLean's playing a waiting game because the Boston Celtics have a void at small forward with the departure of Dominique Wilkens and are attempting to free up enough money to offer him a contract. Until that happens, MacLean is a mere spectator while the rest of the Bullets conduct two-a-day sessions.
"I've just got to do what's best for me," MacLean said as the Bullets practiced. "Missing part of training camp will not be the end of the world for me."
The Celtics apparently are trying to move point guard Sherman Douglas, who is expendable since Boston signed Dana Barros last month. MacLean said he is hopeful that something can happen by the end of the weekend.
If MacLean remains with the Bullets, he'll have a much different role from two years ago, when he led the team in scoring (18.2) on the way to winning the league's Most Improved Player award. With the addition of Chris Webber and Juwan Howard last season and rookie Rasheed Wallace this season, MacLean could be battling for minutes.
"I don't know what my role would be, but I think a lot of people have put a lid on what I'm going to do, relegating me to sixth or seventh man," MacLean said. "If I play well in camp or preseason, I don't see why at some point it couldn't be me, Chris and Juwan on the front line."
After being limited to 39 games last season because of tendinitis in his knees and later a broken right thumb, MacLean said he's fine.
Webber deal 'close'
One of the agents representing Webber said last night that both sides are "extremely close" in getting the restricted free agent signed.
Fallasha Erwin, one of Webber's representatives, said that it will only take the Bullets to OK their proposal to get the 6-10 forward in camp.
"We're extremely close," Erwin said. "It might be a line drawn in the sand and if someone erases that line, we're right there."
Webber missed the first full day of camp yesterday, as the team started two-a-day workouts.
The Bullets are hopeful to get him in camp by the end of the weekend.