Lakers offer Heat's Douglas reported $17 million contract

December 14, 1991

Point guard Sherman Douglas has signed an offer sheet with the Los Angeles Lakers, the team said yesterday. Terms were not announced.

Douglas, a restricted free agent, hasn't played this season because of a contract dispute with the Miami Heat.

Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy, interviewed by a Miami radio station, would neither confirm nor deny a report that the Lakers had offered a seven-year deal worth $17 million.

However, Douglas and the Heat were discussing a salary in that annual range -- $2.4 million -- when negotiations broke down last summer.

The Heat, for whom Douglas played the past two seasons, has 15 days to match the Lakers' offer or give up rights to the former Syracuse star. If the Heat doesn't match the offer, the Lakers get Douglas without having to make any compensation.

Douglas averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 assists for the Heat last season, both team bests. He also led the team in field-goal percentage (.504), minutes played (35.1 per game) and steals (1.66 per game).

However, with two highly rated young players, Steve Smith and Bimbo Coles, in Douglas' place, the Heat has had its best start. Heat players have suggested publicly that Smith is more unselfish than Douglas.

Sedale Threatt, acquired from the Seattle SuperSonics shortly before the start of the season, has been starting at point guard for the Lakers.

Said Dunleavy: "[Douglas] has the ability to penetrate and break people down. He has abilities that we don't have now."

* WARRIORS: Rod Higgins was placed on injured reserve because of a broken wrist. Club officials said he may miss the rest of the season.

Rookie Chris Gatling, the first of the Warriors' three first-round draft picks, was activated from injured reserve, bringing its roster to 11, one below the limit. Alton Lister (groin strain) remains on the injured list.

Higgins, the Warriors' fourth-leading scorer, fractured a navicular bone in the wrist Thursday night when he collided with Matt Bullard during the second quarter of the Warriors' 99-96 loss to the Rockets. Surgery will be required to repair the damage, team spokeswoman Julie Marvel said.

Dr. William Green, an orthopedic hand specialist, will perform the surgery Wednesday in San Francisco.

"He'll be in a cast for eight weeks," Marvel said. "The earliest he could be back with the team would be three months, and there is a chance it may keep him out for the rest of the season."

Higgins had played in all of the Warriors first 19 games, averaging 11.5 points. He and Tim Hardaway were tied for the team lead with 29 three-point baskets.

* CELTICS: The rafters at Boston Garden got more crowded last night.

Dennis Johnson's number was retired by the club at a halftime ceremony, and a new green-and-white banner bearing that number "3" was raised to the ceiling.

It settled beside two other banners, each honoring eight Celtics, that were filled to capacity.

All the Celtics, wearing green T-shirts bearing a caricature of Johnson, came out of the locker room for a presentation by Celtics center Robert Parish. Johnson received his old Celtics jersey, inside a frame, from Parish.

In 541 regular-season games with the Celtics, Johnson averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.2 steals.

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