First in a telex sent to each of the 23 teams and then in its weekly newsletter, the NBA for the last week has trumpeted that a U.S. District Court judge ruled against the NBA Players Association and its contention that the league's college draft, right-of-first-refusal and salary cap violate antitrust laws.

But while that was indeed part of the ruling by Judge Dickinson Debevoise, there was more to it, according to the union's vice president, Charles Grantham.

"We were asking for a summary judgment on what the law is on these issues," he said. "Our best interests would have been served by the judge saying that the antitrust laws were applicable. He didn't give us that judgment, but he also said that we may indeed have a case but that a jury, not him, would have to decide it. From our standpoint, the ruling was a wash. We didn't get what we wanted but neither did they." . . .

Making the playoffs is doubly important to the Washington Bullets this season. As reported previously, they have a first-round draft choice in the June 1988 college draft, but it will be either their own pick or that of the Philadelphia 76ers, whichever is lower.

The Bullets originally traded their pick for guard Tom Sewell on the day of the 1984 draft. The Bullets got a first-round pick back from Philadelphia when they acquired Moses Malone and Terry Catledge before the 1986 draft, with the stipulation that it be the lower of the two picks.

That means that, if the Bullets were to miss this season's playoffs, the 76ers would get the subsequent lottery pick. The only way that Washington could miss the playoffs and still end up in the lottery is if the 76ers miss out on postseason play as well. Given the fact that the Boston Celtics are the only Atlantic Division team above .500, that isn't as unlikely as it may seem . . .

The Miami Heat, given until today to sell 10,000 season tickets before being granted an expansion franchise, made it last week . . .

Earlier this month, the Houston Rockets put guard Andre Turner on the injured list for the five-game minimum with a punctured eardrum. They said the injury would keep him from flying with the team. That sounded plausible until someone checked the schedule and saw that, of the Rockets' next five games, four were at home and the fifth was at San Antonio, just a bus ride away.