The Atlanta Hawks and Moses Malone's agent refused to confirm news reports that the three-time NBA Most Valuable Player will join the Hawks next season.
Both KRIV-TV of Houston, where Malone lives, and The Atlanta Constitution were quoting unidentified sources as saying the deal would be announced today.The Constitution, in a story today, said the free-agent center was believed to have agreed to a three-year contract with a base salary of $1.17 million per year and bonuses that could raise the total to near $1.5 million.
Hawks President Stan Kasten and Malone's Washington-based agent, Lee Fentress, declined comment.
KRIV-TV quoted a source close to the negotiations and The Constitution attributed its report to "reliable sources close to the situation." The newspaper said the final details were worked out Monday night.
Malone joined the NBA in the 1976-77 season after spending two years in the American Basketball Association. He was named league MVP twice - in 1979 and 1982 - during his six-year stay in Houston, then was voted MVP again in 1983 after his trade to Philadelphia.
The Bullets, with whom he played for the last two seasons, announced this summer they would not try to sign the 10-time All-Star to a new contract.
Houston bowed out of the bidding last week.
Malone is an unrestricted free agent, so the Bullets will not be compensated for his loss.
The 6-foot-10, 255-pound Malone has led the NBA in rebounding six times, most recently in 1985. In his career, he has averaged 22.8 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. His figures last season were 20.3 points and 11.2 rebounds.
The Hawks' starting center last season, Tree Rollins, averaged 4.4 points and six rebounds per game. Rollins recently signed a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent.
The Hawks' front office had promised to pursue scorers at both guard and center. The first goal was met with the acquisition of Reggie Theus in a trade with Sacramento.