John Lucas the Warrior will be starting in the backcourt with Phil Smith next pro basketball season.

Golden State decided yesterday that of the two options given it by NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien as balm for the loss of Rick Barry to Houston, it will pass up the future first-round draft pick plus $350,000 and take a mere $100,000 plus Lucas from the Rockets.

The playmaker out of Maryland, first player taken in the 1976 draft, was second in the league in assists last season, 9.4 a game. Right now, he and World Team Tennis partner Renee Richards are occupied in mixed-doubles competition at the U.S. Open in New York. But, the Warriors reported, "(Coach)" Alvin Attles talked to John over the weekend and had a positive reaction to that conversation."

Dr. Mark Gerard goes on trial today in Mineola, N.Y., accused of engineering the Belmont Park "ringer" scandal of a year ago; he denies all of various charges that could get him up to 18 years in prison.

Gerard hired the redoubtable F. Lee Bailey to defend, or retrieve, his good name and reputation. Unfolding of the scandal, Gerard says, ruined his veterinary practice - he used to treat such equine patients as Secretariat and Canonero II - and forced him to sell his horse farm at Muttontown on Long Island and property in upstate Saratoga Springs.