Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson said yesterday he has not decided whether to accept an offer worth more than $6 million to become general manager and part owner of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.

"If you think I'm considering an offer, you're absolutely right," Thompson said at a news conference in McDonough Gymnasium. "If you think I've made up my mind, you're absolutely incorrect."

But, after the news conference, he added, "I do know in my mind which way I'm leaning, but I'm not going to tell you."

During the news conference, Thompson called the Nuggets' offer "a very exciting challenge . . . all of us live for exciting challenges," and, in response to a reporter's question about becoming a part owner, he replied, "Wouldn't it excite you?"

Thompson said he would make a decision "as soon as possible." He said there was no disenchantment with Georgetown involved in his decision-making process.

"I have no problem whatsoever with staying here . . . . It would not be a great tragedy in my life if I stayed."

Meanwhile, basketball sources continue to insist Thompson is leaning strongly toward taking the Denver offer of a $700,000 annual salary and as much as 4 percent ownership in the franchise if he remains there for the entire five-year contract. The sources said the delay is mainly to ensure an orderly transition at Georgetown.

"When you're in agreement about money, people think everything else is set," Thompson said.

But that isn't the case, Thompson insisted. Many of his remarks focused on his concerns about the program he would be leaving behind; he said he has yet to talk to some university officials or to his team.

"It's just not John Thompson being considered here," he said, but the entire university. "The Jesuit fathers have been awfully good to me," he said. "It's a common courtesy after you've been at a school for 18 years to make sure they land on their feet."

Thompson said he had not recommended anyone to succeed him, if he leaves, but would be happy if either of his assistants, Craig Esherick or Mike Riley, replaced him.

Several sources have said the stress of coaching college basketball is a major factor in Thompson's consideration. He denied health problems -- he has said he suffers from hypertension -- as a reason he is considering an administrative-only job.

But, later, he said, "Whose body, at the age of 48, isn't changing? . . . I don't know of one, except maybe George Foreman."

Thompson also said there are no obstacles preventing him from leaving Georgetown, despite being under a long-term contract. He has an escape clause, "as long as I give sufficient notice," which he said is not a problem. "These are not my enemies here . . . I think I have their blessing already."

Thompson also said part of the decision-making process involves his becoming comfortable with his employer, and the Washington native indicated he was getting closer to a comfort level that would satisfy him. He said he has a verbal agreement giving him total control of the basketball operation; he is waiting to get it in writing.

By "control," Thompson said he meant "the ability to form my own team."

When the Nuggets first approached him, Thompson's interest was not as keen as it is now. "It was not a question of me totally rejecting their {first} offer," he said.

"Nobody can pay me enough money to fail. My comfort level with Georgetown University is extremely high . . . I was not completely comfortable {with the Nuggets' offer} before. I'm more comfortable now. But I'm not certain I'm completely comfortable."

Another part of the decision-making process, Thompson said, is exploring the totality of the Denver job. "As the NBA is structured, a lot of the responsibilities of a general manager are similar to the responsibilities of coaching in college," he said.

Although he said he would like to coach an NBA team he put together, Thompson said that possibility isn't realistic in today's NBA. "I think that's suicide. It's antiquated, a thing of the past."

Thompson said he did not foresee a problem making the transition from college to pro basketball. "They said the same thing when I came here from St. Anthony's . . . Intelligent people that work hard can adjust."

Thompson said he also could call on his NBA friends for advice, such as Boston Celtics President Red Auerbach, whom he did not identify by name but called "the best there's ever been."

Because of the elite nature of his program, Thompson said he gets more calls from pro personnel people than from college coaches, concluding he feels he is in touch with the league.

The news conference marked Thompson's first substantive comments since The Washington Post reported last week that Thompson was considering the Nuggets' option. "If it was up to me, I would never disclose I was exploring anything until I made a decision," he said.

Thompson said everyone wants to know his decision, including his son, Ronny, a junior guard on his team. "Everytime I see my son, he asks me what am I going to do."