The most persistent rumor holds that Rodman will be sent to the Miami Heat for Grant Long and Brian Shaw. The Heat, according to the latest twist, are working to restructure some contracts before the deal goes through.
There is some indication, however, that the Pistons like having a guy who gets 20 rebounds a game. Now that Rodman's back, they might keep him around.
"I think all of their talks are on hold," Sixers owner Harold Katz said yesterday.
The Sixers are not in the bidding for Rodman at the moment, although
rebounding and toughness - two of Rodman's better qualities - are two of their greatest needs.
"He's exactly the type of player we need," Katz said. "But Rodman is what Detroit needs, too."
NOTES. The Pistons have been on their longest break of the season. They've been off since a surprising victory Sunday over New York, 92-76, ended a seven-game losing streak. They won despite shooting 34.6 percent. Rebounding and defense, an old combination, was the difference.
Detroit has been woefully bad at the foul line, making just 69 percent. ''If we made our free throws, we'd have six or seven victories by now," said coach Ron Rothstein.
The Pistons have lost five games by five points or fewer and are 0-5 when the opposition scores 100 points or more. . . . Rothstein has put Bill Laimbeer and Rodman in the starting lineup, and bounced Olden Polynice and Mark Aguirre. Out for three games with supposedly sore tendons in both feet, Aguirre practiced this week and could play tonight. However, sources say Aguirre, considered a cancerous influence in the locker room, could be released soon by the Pistons.
Polynice took his demotion well. "It doesn't matter how you slice it," Polynice said. "I should be in the starting lineup. I started 10 games, played well and they take me out. I still don't understand. Now I know how Dennis Rodman felt when he said he wanted to quit basketball."
The Pistons beat the Sixers in the exhibition season. Rothstein angered Moe by calling a timeout with the game long since decided and only 33 seconds to play. Moe ordered the Sixers to play no defense - just stand still - when the Pistons took the court to run Rothstein's precious play. Fittingly, Detroit, playing against no defense, was able to get an 18-foot jump shot.
After going back-to-back with Detroit, Sixers have two home games next week, Wednesday against Seattle and Friday against the L.A. Clippers.