Gary Matthews evidently is going from the Braves to the Reds in a trade for Dave Collins.

Ex-Giant Matthews four years ago was the apple of Ted Turner's eye, at the cost of Turner's suspension by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn for tampering. Now, headed into the last year of his Atlanta contract and disgruntled over its terms, Matthews fell into such disfavor with Turner that the yachtsman went over the head (again) of Manager Bobby Cox and told Gary that if he wouldn't accept trade, he could plan on warming the Brave bench. With the Reds apparently of no more mind than the Braves to pay him $700,000 a year, Matthews balked -- until yesterday. The Reds likely would give him right field and shift Ken Griffey to center.

With talk of 1981 NASL soccer in RFK after all came murmurs of maybe Johan Cruyff after all. Well, Cruyff -- his return to Spanish competition aborted -- has agreed to terms to play for Leicester City, according to the club's coach; $11,750 per match.

Bob Irsay, the Colts' owner, teamed with Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer yesterday to launch a promotion campaign designed to put fans in all those empty seats and reassure the populace a franchise move is not imminent. Still no indication by Irsay, though, he will sign the 15-year lease insisted on by the Maryland General Assembly before it will release $22 million in state money for Memorial Stadium improvements. . .

Another day in the life of the Oakland (still) Raiders: Jim Plunkett, in New York to receive Sport magazine's Super Bowl MVP trophy, saying he expects to reap the financial rewards of his storybook comeback campaign -- and won't mind playing out his option if management doesn't see it that way, salarywise . . . John Matuszak, a new escapade: Big Jawn arrested in Hayward, Calif., on charges of drunken driving, possessing a concealed .44-caliber magnum revolver -- and a bayonet. All this after police said they saw his car weaving and looked under the floor mat after discovering an open bottle of rum. . .