Danny Ferry, the Clippers' first-round draft choice, met with officials from the Rome team in the Italian pro league last week and discussed a contract, his father said Thursday.
Ferry, an All-American from Duke who was regarded by some as the best player in the nation last season, was in Europe as part of a post-graduation vacation. He attended the British Grand Prix with Paul Stewart, a college friend and the son of former race-car champion Jackie Stewart. He also attended Wimbledon before going to Italy.
A mere bargaining ploy? Perhaps, but officials of the Rome team also flew in Ferry's parents, Bob and Rita, from Maryland.
"I think it was a get-acquainted thing," said Bob Ferry, general manager of the Washington Bullets.
"We went over there, met with the people and talked with them. We know the parameters they were talking about."
So a contract was discussed?
"We talked about things, yes," said Bob Ferry, adding, "It's safe to say I know where they stand."
Danny Ferry returned from Europe Thursday night and was not available for comment.
The Clippers have remained confident that Ferry will sign after meeting with team officials.
They plan to assure him that he will be an important part of the team, if not a starter at first. He is projected as backing up Ken Norman and Charles Smith at forward and possibly being a replacement for center Benoit Benjamin.
According to National Basketball Assn. rules, a team retains rights to a player if he competes in any other professional league, no matter the country.
A player must sit out an entire season in order to re-enter the draft.