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Williams to Sign; Cage May Leave

October 22, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

Forward-guard Reggie Williams of Georgetown agreed to a three-year contract with the Clippers Wednesday, but free-agent forward Michael Cage said there has been no progress in his negotiations and that there is a good chance he will not be with the team this season.

Williams, the Clippers' top draft pick and the fourth player selected in the National Basketball Assn. draft last June, reached an agreement in principal on a deal that will pay him more than $800,000 a season.

"It looks like everything is finally wrapped up," said Alan Rothenberg, Clipper president. "To my knowledge it's the richest non-big-man contract ever signed by a rookie. It beats the deal Michael Jordan signed. The only ones who signed for more were (Patrick) Ewing, (Ralph) Sampson, (Akeem) Olajuwon and (Benoit) Benjamin."

The Clippers expect Williams to sign the contract today and they have scheduled a press conference for noon at the team's training camp at Cal Poly Pomona. He has missed the first two weeks of camp because of his holdout.

Williams, a 6-foot 7-inch, 190-pound swing man, averaged 23.6 points a game last season, setting a single-season Georgetown scoring record and becoming a consensus All-American.

While Williams was becoming a millionaire, though, Cage was frustrated in trying to get what he considers his fair share of owner Donald T. Sterling's cash.

Cage had his best season in 1986-87, when he finished as the sixth-leading rebounder in the NBA with an average of 11.5 a game. He also averaged 15.7 points.

He earned $275,000 last season and is seeking a multiyear contract of $800,000 a season, but the Clippers say that Cage doesn't deserve superstar pay on the basis of one good season. Team officials say that if Cage doesn't sign soon and report to training camp, he may lose his job to rookie power forward-center Joe Wolf of North Carolina. Wolf has played well in practice and exhibition games.

With negotiations at a standstill, however, Cage said he's seeking an offer sheet from another team, although the Clippers could keep him by matching any offer.

"I feel my days as a Clipper are numbered," he said. "I honestly feel it's more than 50-50 that I won't be with the team. I don't feel the Clippers want me. I've got to start thinking about my future elsewhere."

Clipper Notes Center Benoit Benjamin is listed as questionable for tonight's exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings at Bakersfield with a minor back injury. Benjamin suffered a slight muscle strain in his lower back during practice Tuesday morning. "I think he'll be out for a day or two at the most," said Dr. Randy Davis, a team physician. . . . Reggie Williams will be in uniform for the game but will not play. . . . Sources said that Williams' agent, David Falk of Pro Serv, rejected a four-year deal from the Clippers. "One thing we've learned is that the market continually changes," Falk said. "What's high one year may not be high the next."

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