An exercise in vetting sources for "rumors"

Streeter Lecka

REMINDER: not all rumors are created equal.

Look, I get it.

The Bobcats are bad and they're not about to get anything more than marginally better this season just by playing more games together. Roster moves are needed if the team wants to be better in the immediate future. That's understandable.

As fans, we have a seemingly insatiable hunger for news on our favorite teams. And nothing makes for juicier and more stimulating news than rumors, especially trade rumors. We love the idea of a team reborn in their ashes, given life by a new player and a league perhaps changed by a single trade.

There are times when it's warranted. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! or Marc Stein of ESPN have A+++ sources and the rumors they publish are pretty much solid. It's fine to do our due diligence as fans to keep our eyes peeled concerning our teams' situations. But sometimes people are so damn desperate for this type of gossip, they'll eat up the slightest thing and regurgitate it to others as a supposed legitimate "trade rumor."

Let's take a look at two recent examples of this.

The first comes from an ESPN Insider column, which is pretty much a keyword in searching for NBA rumors.

"We're very active - our owner wants us to be active,'' team president Bob Higgins told the Observer in regard to the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Specifically, Bonnell wrote that trades "could range from pursuing a star player, to adding a complementary big man, to facilitating some deal between other teams to acquire a future draft pick."

The Bobs are desperate for a big man, so they may take aim at some potential targets who may well be available like DeMarcus Cousins, Al Jefferson or Andrea Bargnani. The trouble is they don't have much in the way of assets beyond what is sure to be another high draft pick in this year's draft. Perhaps that would be enough to pry Bargnani away from the Toronto Raptors, though

Hm, this is just a thought but hear me out.

Perhaps if a writer can't spell Rod Higgins' first name correctly, you shouldn't take his word as the base for a trade rumor. Also, if said writer thinks Andrea Bargnani has to be "pried" from the Raptors, maybe you should look elsewhere for NBA analysis.

Besides, this is just that specific writer speculating on the plausible idea of the Bobcats trying to find a big man through a trade. There is nothing here to suggest the Bobcats have even thought of the name "Bargnani." But of course, this made its way to a forum and the rest is history.

I'm sure the Bobcats are looking for an exponentially more expensive Byron Mullens that can't rebound and is a moderately better scorer, though.

Next up, Twitter running with speculation!

Last night, Bobcats beat reporter Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer watched the Lakers-Bulls game. Prior to the game, Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni announced he is removing Pau Gasol from the starting lineup. Of course, this is just the most recent example of Gasol's unfortunate season, which has seen him perpetually misused in D'Antoni's stint.

It now seems like Gasol's best hope is to be traded elsewhere to start anew for a franchise that is willing to give him the role he needs.

Bonnell took this understanding and thought up a trade idea with the Bobcats.

Whoa, this must be a legitimate rumor because if a team reporter is playing with salaries, it must mean he knows something!

Wowzers! Pau Gasol is Spanish! This reporter is Spanish! This must mean the teams are in negotiations! Oh, but for those that no hablen espanol, it says "Rumor based out of Charlotte: Bobcats could be preparing to offer a type of trade like: Diop + Gordon + draft pick for Gasol." See that word "estarían?" Estar is the verb "to be" and the ending "ían" on it indicates it's the conditional tense. That verb tense is basically the hypothetical future. Good idea to use the hypothetical future as a basis for saying the Bobcats and Lakers are in trade talks about Gasol!

Oh wait, he says it's "just conjecture."

Let's look up what conjecture means together.

the formation or expression of an opinion or theory without sufficient evidence for proof.

Oh. Whoops.

So please -- PLEASE -- in this exciting time of trade rumors, look at what you're about to eat. That filet mignon you're about to share with everyone could just be dressed-up dog crap.

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