Another idled big man, Bob Lanier, will be traded by the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks once his broken hand is better, according to close observers, including Dave Bing -- Lanier's buddy who almost was named Piston coach recently. Kent Benson and draft Picks reportedly would go to the Silverdome. League trading deadline: Feb. 15 . . .
Traded yesterday: San Antonio big man Billy Paultz to Houston (even Moses Malone needs help). John Shumate becomes a Spur . . .
But if so many stars are out of commission, the NBA still has aces up its sleeve. On top of a ratings triumph over NBC's college basketball with its 1980 opener -- Magic and Kareem vs. Bird and Cowens -- NBA on CBS is bringing them back THE big man as analyst, starting Sunday, with Sonics-Celts: Welcome back, Bill Russell!
Stop sweating, football fans, a federal judge has ruled the Super Bowl can go ahead as scheduled.
Judge Carl O. Bue Jr., in Houston, dismissed this week a $12 million lawsuit filed by "two disheartened Oiler football fans" (William Pabst and Diane Simsons), who contended that the no-catch ruling on Mike Renfro's apparent touchdown reception during the AFC title game caused them "anger, consternation, embarrassment and sleeplessness." The plaintiffs also sought an injuction to keep Pittsburgh, a 27-13 winner thanks partly to the controversial call, from playing in Pasadena. The judge sympathized but said it was no federal case . . .
The NCAA football rules committee finally has adopted a tie-breaker procedure for games that end even after 60 minutes -- but only for postseason play and, we gather, only at the option of the bowl people involved. Anyway, the system will, or would work similarly to that employed in many high school leagues: each team given four downs of offense to score, by field goal or touchdown, until the issue is decided. Unlike the highs' 10 yards to negotiate, collegians would start on the 15.