Last-place Clippers signal first-place Lakers: why not turn this around and you trade us your first pick?

Ralph Sampson, Patrick Ewing and James Worthy dance in San Diego owner Don Sterling's dreams under a blanket of 19 consecutive NBA defeats.

Sterling rejected a Laker offer of draft choices and seven-digit cash for San Diego's June drafting spot (first in the league or second after the Lakers', depending on May 20 coin flip). He counters: we'll give three picks, including our No. 1 in 1983, and $1 million-plus for the 1982 No. 1 that L.A. owns via Cleveland.

And if we lead off '82 roll call, says Sterling, "there's a 99 percent chance Ralph plays with us." Oh? Does he know something? That if L.A. hasn't made sure, by May 15 underclassman declaration deadline, of first crack that Virginia junior Sampson will turn pro anyway?

In their best of all worlds, the Clippers would take Ewing first. Coach Paul Silas: "Ralph will be an excellent pro, but Ewing has more potential to totally dominate. I see a lot of Bill Russell in Ewing."

If Ewing stays at Georgetown, as he and Coach John Thompson told The Washington Post he will "most definitely," well, shrugs Sterling, there's Worthy. And if he could swing his dream trade, "I think there is a good chance we could get Sampson and Worthy, and we're going to spend money to get others" . . .

Abe Pollin, unavailable for comment since reports April 2 that he might sell Capital Centre and teams, didn't address that when Frank Herzog interviewed him on Channel 20 at half last night--but spoke as one figuring to operate the Bullets a long time: "Times are going to get better," with network and cable television money, and as for coping with spenders like Lakers' Jerry Buss, "We're not only going to survive, we intend to beat them . . . You can't buy championships" . . .

Quarterback Jones waived! June Jones, by Falcons, along with the shortest NFLer, 5-foot-4 returner Reggie Smith . . . As for Bert Jones, his message from Ruston, La.: "Under the circumstances I realistically can no longer play for the Colts. I would prefer to be traded and finish my career elsewhere." His first such outright demand.

To hear the NFL Players Association, Jones would be long gone already if he were Baltimore's player representative. The union is sure player reps are marked men, and NFLPA's Stan White said forget any labor agreement unless clubs quit trading them away. White cited Dewey Selmon, Tampa Bay rep just dealt to San Diego. But Selmon cools it: "I was consulted by both teams before the trade. I approved it . . . Any player representative should have such an option during the current collective bargaining process." Amen from Buccaneers' front office: "Had Dewey nixed the trade he would have been kept."

Trade drums, baseball: Boss Bill Giles tells GM Paul Owens to see what Pirates want for Dave Parker--Phillies desperate for left-handed power hitting.

NCAA preliminary investigation at Kansas is confirmed--by Jim Lessig, incoming athletic director (from Bowling Green) who inherits whatever mess, if any . . . Furman affirms Jene Davis, Indiana assistant, as basketball coach, Virginia Tech's Charlie Moir having been wooed and lost . . .

Tracy Austin acts tonight on ABC-TV's "Mork and Mindy"--and gears for tennis comeback May 10, or sooner, and for her first French Open, May 24 . . . Pepper Rodgers evidently is out as college football commentator on Turner Broadcasting System this fall; NCAA's TV chairman Wiles Hallock has an "image problem" with Rodgers; also cites ex-coach Rodgers' live $331,000 suit against Georgia Tech. Image problem? "Insane," Rodgers reacts. "I did get a permanent once. I did ride a motorcycle." Oh, NCAA also vetoes Rodgers' would-be partner: Paul Hornung.

A. Living the league bowlers' dream, atop the ABC men's singles by one pin since rolling 278 222 232--732 in Baltimore May 31 ("I've never won any kind of tournament"): Alexandria's Terry Lekites. . .Q. Born and lives in Leesburg, Va., regular catcher as rookie on a 77-77 (so you know it's old days) Chicago Cubs team?