JOHNSON TO SIGN: Detroit Pistons guard Vinnie Johnson has agreed to contract terms with the two-time defending NBA champions.
He wanted $3.2 million spread over two years, but Pistons General Manager Jack McCloskey said he would not pay more than $2.8 million.
At 4 p.m. yesterday, McCloskey said he threatened to pull his offer from the bargaining table. An hour later, the two sides agreed to terms.
McCloskey refused to release details of the contract, which Johnson has not yet signed.
"I think it has to be a reasonable contract for anyone to sign it," Johnson said. "But sometimes you have to put dollar figures aside when you have this great an opportunity. It's a definite load off my mind. This wasn't helping me or the franchise."
LAKERS MAKE CUTS: The Lakers cut guard Steve Bucknall and forward Michael Young, leaving 14 players on their preseason roster.
Bucknall, who signed with the Lakers last season as a free agent out of North Carolina, played 18 games in 1989-90.
$4 MILLION BUCK'S: A one-year contract extension agreed to by the Portland Trail Blazers and forward Buck Williams reportedly will be worth about $4 million for the 1993-94 season, the final year of the contract.
Williams, 30, had three years plus an option year on a contract that pays him about $1.5 million for the 1990-91 season. The extension replaced the option year.
"It's a good contract," said Williams. "I'm hopeful I can finish my career here in Portland."
NUGGETS GET DEFENSIVE: Reggie Lewis' 32 points led seven Boston Celtics in double figures as they defeated the winless Denver Nuggets 173-155 in a preseason game in Denver.
Despite the loss, the 0-4 Nuggets showed improvement under new coach Paul Westhead's fast-break offense. The have lost their four games by an average margin of 177-143.