Howard County Circuit Court Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. yesterday postponed David Wingate's second-degree rape trial because the San Antonio Spurs said they'd rehire him if he can play the rest of the season without having to go to trial.

Wingate, free on $10,000 bail, will be tried Aug. 5 instead of April 1.

Prosecutor Kate O'Donnell objected to the postponement. The judge said he was influenced by defense claims that a delay would allow Wingate to work to pay his lawyer and the cost of an investigator. The defense claimed Wingate, the former Georgetown forward, had been unable to find work after the charges.

The defense attorney, Philip H. Armstrong, also said in a written motion seeking the continuance that Wingate has reached a settlement that will result in the dismissal of all civil and criminal charges pending against him in Texas. A woman there claimed Wingate met her at a San Antonio night club and raped her en route to his house. There has been no confirmation, though, that the civil suit has been cleared.

Armstrong told the court that preliminary discussions have occurred in connection with the Howard County case, in which a Baltimore girl, 17, says she was raped Sept. 16 at Wingate's Columbia apartment.