Physical A Factor For Club, Wiggins

Posted: November 15, 1990

The 76ers planned to add veteran guard Mitchell Wiggins to their roster earlier this week, but backed away when Wiggins would not take a complete pre- signing physical that included a urinalysis, according to several sources close to the situation.

Urinalysis can indicate drug use, of which Wiggins has a history.

So certain were the Sixers that the 31-year-old free agent would join the club in Indianapolis that the front office had his name added to the team's rooming list.

But Wiggins, who missed two full seasons plus part of another as penalty for violating the NBA's substance-abuse strictures, did not take the physical, and the Sixers removed his name from consideration.

Officially, the Sixers have said only that Wiggins was among the players who have been considered for their depleted roster. But, privately, sources close to the team have confirmed that the five-season NBA veteran was within a clear physical of joining the team.

Wiggins could not be reached for comment. His agent, Bob Woolf, said he had no comment on the situation.

"I really don't think I can shed any light on that," Woolf said yesterday.

Wiggins ran afoul of the league in February 1987, when the NBA felt it had sufficient cause to order him to take a substance test. Wiggins tested positive for cocaine and, because he had not come forward himself, was given the league's maximum penalty - sitting out two full seasons before being allowed to apply for reinstatement.

Wiggins did not play in the NBA in the 1987-88 and '88-89 seasons. He

applied for reinstatement last fall, and was allowed to return to the Houston Rockets. He played in 66 games for the Rockets last season, averaging 15.5 points per game, but was not offered a contract by Houston for this season. The Rockets renounced his rights in training camp, making Wiggins an unrestricted free agent.

The Sixers have played three games with just 10 players on their roster. The front office and coaching staff will hold a meeting this afternoon to decide the team's next course of action.

"We've got a long list of names," general manager Gene Shue said before last night's game against Atlanta at the Spectrum. "We'll get everybody in one room and sort it out. We've talked around and around about different players, now it's time to get together and have all of us make a decision."

Shue, owner Harold Katz, assistant general manager Bob Weinhauer, head coach Jim Lynam and assistant coach Fred Carter are to meet today in the team's Veterans Stadium office.

Among the names on the list are several the Sixers considered during the summer when they went through the process of finding a backup point guard. Rickey Green emerged from an August tryout that also included Kelvin Upshaw, Eddie Hughes and Corey Gaines.

Gaines is now with the Denver Nuggets, but Upshaw and Hughes are available, as are, among others, free-agent guards Jim Les and Jim Farmer. Veteran Dennis Johnson is also waiting to be signed by someone, but the Sixers have shown only lukewarm interest in the slowing Johnson.

"I think he was with the right team (Boston) last year," Shue said. ''We're looking to play an up-tempo game.

"Any name you can suggest is a name we've thought of. Now, we just have to find the right name."

NOTES. The Sixers will practice today, play at home tomorrow night against the Washington Bullets, then travel to New York to play the Knicks on Saturday night. . . . Center Manute Bol is to be a guest speaker today at the Mickey Leland Memorial Hunger Banquet in Washington, where he will speak about the food crisis in his native Sudan. . . . Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn are to be the co-hosts of a show called Basketball's Funniest Pranks, to air at noon Sunday on Channel 6.

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