Bernie Bickerstaff resigned last night as vice president of basketball operations for the Seattle SuperSonics, who then announced he would be named general manager of the Denver Nuggets today.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Nuggets, who have been searching for a general manager for three months, but Bickerstaff was reportedly attending the baseball's All-Star Game in Chicago as a guest of Nuggets managing general partner Peter Bynoe and team president Carl Scheer.

Bickerstaff, 46, resigned as coach on May 15 to move into the front office. He was replaced by assistant K.C. Jones.

SuperSonics President Bob Whitsitt granted Bickerstaff and the Nuggets permission to discuss the team's vacant general manager position last week. The team released a statement saying Bickerstaff would take the job with the Nuggets and that no decision had been made about replacing him.

"You always hate to see good people leave your organization," Whitsitt said. "This is a great opportunity for Bernie -- to be an NBA general manager. We are always happy for our employees when they are recognized and presented with such opportunities. We don't stand in their way." . . .

Chuck Daly, 59, saying he would miss coaching too much, announced he will return to the Detroit Pistons and try for a third consecutive NBA championship.

He turned aside offers from NBC-TV, which sought him as a commentator, and the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers, who are in the market for general managers.

"I really don't know anything else. This is what I've always done. I'm a basketball coach," he said at a news conference in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Pistons General Manager Jack McCloskey announced that Daly will have a new, multiyear contract. Details of the agreement were undisclosed.

Daly's contract, which will expire after next season, was worth about $500,000 a year.

"I wanted to make sure that I was capable of doing the job and could give it 110 percent, because you have to do that if you're going to try to win in this league," he said.

Before he arrived in June 1983, the Pistons never had consecutive winning seasons. Under him, the Pistons have been better than .500 for seven straight years. His regular season record is 378-237 and in the playoffs he's 62-31, including 15-5 this year.