There were some anxious moments for the Bullets yesterday as the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons discussed a possible trade, a move that could have an impact on Washington's chances of signing Bernard King.

The player or players given up by New York in exchange for Detroit forward Sidney Green could have a direct effect on the Bullets' quest for King, the free agent forward signed to an offer sheet by Washington on Oct. 16.

In one scenario, for example, the Knicks would send forward Pat Cummings to the Pistons. Cummings makes an estimated $712,000 -- roughly the same amount the Knicks offered to Green earlier this month. If that happens, the Knicks could then fit King and his million-dollar salary into their own payroll under the restrictions of the NBA's salary cap.

Such a trade could leave Washington out in the cold. The Bullets were particularly worried yesterday because the Pistons were in New York to play a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns, giving Knicks General Manager Al Bianchi and Jack McCloskey, his Detroit counterpart, a chance to meet.

A Pistons official, reached in New York yesterday, said that although the Pistons and the Knicks were currently engaged in trade discussions, "There's nothing imminent going on right now." He added that it's likely Cummings wouldn't be included should a deal be made between the two sides.

However, Bianchi said Cummings was definitely part of the conversations between Detroit and New York.

Either way, the Bullets still have to consider the possibility that the Knicks may decide to match their offer to King and retain the player's services. Contacted at his New Jersey home on Monday, King said that his "worst case scenario" has the Knicks matching the Bullets' offer, then trading him to Washington in exchange for a player that could've helped the Bullets.

The Knicks and Bullets talked on Monday and Bianchi said yesterday that the Bullets "maintained their earlier position." Before signing King to an offer sheet, Washington offered a second-round draft choice as compensation, an offer Bianchi said he found insulting.

"I'm sure Bob {Ferry, Bullets general manager} is calling all the right people, trying to find out if we're going to match or not," Bianchi said. As for the virtual lack of communication between the two sides, Bianchi said, "I guess he's holding out for a freebie."

Bianchi said that the Knicks are still considering all their options regarding King: matching the Bullets' offer and keeping him, matching and trading him or just letting him go to Washington. It is thought that King and his salary don't fit into New York's plans, but Bianchi said, "We haven't decided that yet. We'll find out on Saturday, won't we?"

The Knicks have until midnight Saturday to decide what they'll do. King contends that if the Knicks wanted him "they would have matched the Bullets' offer by now," and that he's hoping to attend the Bullets' preseason game against the New Jersey Nets Saturday at Madison Square Garden as a new member of the team.