Ernie DiGregorio, with no place to play in Buffalo now that Nate Archibald has become a Brave, took off the promised land of Los Angeles yesterday.

The 6-foot playmaker, NBA, rookie of the year in 1974 who averaged 10.7 points and 5.6 assists in four years with Buffalo, signed a multiyear contract with the Lakers, meaning he will spend a lot of time feeding the ball to Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar.

Although compensation terms were not announced Braves owner John Y. Brown said last week that a deal to trade DiGregorio had been in the works so it seems unlikely there will be any problems in that area.

DiGregorio, 26, was the collegiate player of the year his senior year at Providence in 1973. He was hampered by a knee injury last season and saw limited playing time.

DINGBAT

It's been 153 years since the first America's Cup race and the U.S. has yet to lose the silverware. Now it turns out that this year's challenger, Australia, considered by many the best foreign contender ever, is in heavy financial straits.

The boat needs another $220,000 to make it through the challenge races, scheduled to begin Tuesday against American defender Courageous, piloted by Atlanta Braves and Hawkss owner Ted Turner.

"It's not critical yet, but it's serious," said spokesman Bob Hemery. "Other teams have had parties but we can't afford one."

The Australian group came to the U.S. with a $1 million reserve fund, now used up. Hemery said his people have contacted the top 150 companies in Western Australia to try and raise the money.