DENVER SPORTS AUCTION: Denver-based Ascent Entertainment Group Inc. said it will auction its sports properties to settle shareholder lawsuits that challenged the $400 million proposed sale of the Nuggets, Avalanche and Pepsi Center.

The agreement comes after at least three groups filed suit, claiming the price that Ascent negotiated with billionaire Bill Laurie was as much as $150 million lower than it could have received from other potential buyers.

Ascent Chairman and CEO Charles Lyons was to leave the company and take an equity stake and become president of the sports company, which led to some shareholder complaints. Lyons and Ascent have denied that.

Ascent did not say when the auction would begin.

HAWKINS HONORED: SuperSonics G Hersey Hawkins won the NBA's Sportsmanship Award. Hawkins received 70 of 118 votes from a panel of media members.

The 76ers' Eric Snow was second with 23 votes, followed by the Timberwolves' Kevin Garnett (18) and the Raptors' Vince Carter (7).

WNBA NEWS: Frank Layden resigned as coach of the Utah Starzz because he is feeling old and wants to enjoy life. Layden, 67, a former coach and general manager of the Jazz, will stay on as the NBA team's president. . . .

The Los Angeles Sparks traded G Jamila Wideman, who is on injured reserve, to the Cleveland Rockers for seldom-used G Jennifer Howard (North Carolina State). The Sparks then waived Howard, the Wolfpack's all-time leader in three-point shooting, to remain at the 11-player roster limit.