• December 21, 2014

Analysis Hard to separate fact from fiction as NBA rumor mill kicks into high gear

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Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:42 pm

Heading into the second week of NBA free agency, the rumor mill is in full tilt regarding the biggest stars in the 2014 class, namely LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

Bill Simmons of Grantland was the first to report that the Los Angeles Lakers had emerged as serious contenders to land Anthony, long-assumed a cinch to return to the New York Knicks — and that report came across as quiet and levelheaded compared to the endless speculation surrounding James.

On the opposite end of that spectrum were pieces by Miami Herald columnists Dan LeBatard and Greg Cote shooting down any and all speculation that James and Heat free agent Chris Bosh were truly considering leaving.

LeBatard said in print what he has been saying in tweets essentially since free agency began.

When Kyle Lowry, a rumored target of the Miami Heat, agreed to a deal to return to the Toronto Raptors, reports called it a swing and a miss for the Heat — except, according to LeBatard, the Heat never got past the preliminary stage, internal discussions, of pursuing Lowry.

In the end, the sides never even met to discuss a potential deal.

This is why it is always worth a reminder that these reports are, well, reports.

And despite none of them including anyone willing to speak on record, we — from journalists to the general public — not only refuse to take them with a grain of salt but speculate further based off said reports.

LeBatard and Cote, ironically, include similar inside reporting with no name of record in their pieces.

One may find that hypocritical, but to me, it only illustrates the bigger point.

Are LeBatard and Cote correct in reporting on the team in their own backyard or is it the well-respected national journalists who continue to report the opposite of them?

The fact of the matter is none of us knows besides the players and team officials that are in these meetings.

And frankly, what does it even matter until it is official?

I have a similar view of high school recruiting, which at this point, is starting to bear startling similarities to NBA free agency.

That is why, looking ahead to the second week of NBA free agency, hopefully, there will be actual deals and sources of record.

Because I don’t know if any of us can handle anymore rumors at this point.

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