The city of Denver and billionaire developer Donald Sturm reached agreement yesterday on the sale of the Pepsi Center, the Colorado Avalanche and the Nuggets.

"I believe that the agreement in principle reached with Mr. Sturm will safeguard the interests of Denver citizens," Mayor Wellington Webb said in a statement released last night. "Despite trends around the country in which cities are losing sports teams to the highest bidder, Denver is in the unique situation of having two world-class teams, the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche in Denver for the next 25 years."

The proposed agreement will build protection for the city into Sturm's organizational structure and also provide guarantees that the 25-year commitment to keep the teams in Denver will be honored in the event of Sturm's death.

Sturm and Webb reached the agreement yesterday afternoon during a phone conversation.

Sturm's $461 million offer to buy the teams and the arena from Ascent Entertainment Group Inc. was on hold because of the city's insistence on stronger guarantees that the teams will remain in Denver.

Sturm had promised not to move the teams, but city officials were concerned about what might happen to the teams if Sturm, 67, dies.

* INJURED: The Raptors placed rookie C Aleksandar Radojevic on the injured list with a torn ligament in his left knee. If no surgery is required, he is expected to be out for two weeks.