There was a new development Saturday in the bizarre tale of the NBA general manager who won't stay away.
Bob Whitsitt's office is now almost bare. The Seattle SuperSonics said they have taken out all the "business equipment."
When Whitsitt, the NBA executive of the year, reported to work Friday, he found his desk and chair. And that was it.
The club removed Whitsitt's telephone, computer, fax and VCR.
"We asked Bob to take a paid leave of absence," Bill Ackerley said Saturday in a statement. "Bob chose to continue to come into the office despite our requests not to.
"We removed company-owned business equipment from Bob Whitsitt's business office. We felt it was necessary to take this step. We didn't feel it was appropriate for Bob to be using company assets when he has been placed on a paid administrative leave."
Ackerley, son of club owner Barry Ackerley, is president and chief executive officer of Ackerley Communications Inc.
Whitsitt, president and general manager of the club for eight years, has asked out of the final three years of his five-year, $500,000-a-year contract.
This week, the SuperSonics put Whitsitt on paid administrative leave and asked him not to come into the office until his contract issue was settled. Reporting to the office Wednesday through Friday, Whitsitt insisted he was in charge of the SuperSonics' draft June 29.
The club said Whitsitt, 38, won't have anything to do with the draft and that Coach George Karl will be in charge.
A source close to Whitsitt said Saturday that he planned to report to work again Monday despite his bare office. "Bob will keep going to work because he doesn't want to breach his contract," the source said. "Bob does not have a job offer. He wants out because the pressure from Barry Ackerley the last two years has been enormous. Barry's late-night phone calls are part of it."
Whitsitt, who is also a close friend of Portland Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen, could not be reached for comment Saturday.