NBA free agency is one of the most fun weeks on the sports calendar, especially this year with so many franchise-altering players reaching the free agent market.
And with free agency comes an entire industry built on rumors, speculation and ‘sources’ providing ‘insiders’ with secret leaked knowledge of what’s going on inside these players camps.
Adrian Wojnarowski is the king of the insiders. He’s been labeled as the 31st franchise. Nothing happens in the NBA without going through him first. Every signing, trade, firing, Woj is the man tweeting out the news.
However, Woj does not dabble in uncertainty. He does theorize or guess what moves teams are going to make. He does not poke his head out unless he has all the facts.
Unfortunately, in a sport with so much player movement and trade demands, we need more than just breaking news. We need rumors to discuss and tea leaves to read.
Shows like First Take on ESPN and Undisputed on Fox Sports, build entire weeks of ‘debates’ surrounding these rumors. Sports media clicks and views are built on rumors.
Here is where the problem lies: these two lanes are colliding.
People on television whose job is to give their opinions are making connections with people inside of NBA organizations and now those people on TV are attempting to ‘report’ while simultaneously giving their opinion.
Stephen A. Smith cannot go on First Take and speculate on where he thinks Kevin Durant is going to sign while at the same time, reporting on what his ‘sources’ are telling him about Durant.
You can obviously use whatever inside information you believe you are receiving in order to help formulate an educated opinion. Developing relationships with players and agents and execs can provide you with a new insight that you may have not had as just a talking head on television.
But the second you start relaying that inside information to us and purport that information as facts, you are both lying to everyone who is watching and turning all of your opinions into biased nonsense.
This was on full display this year specifically with Kawhi Leonard, a man with one agent and friend he tells things to. Every move and thought he has is kept in-house yet for some reason, people still tried to capitalize off him and pretend as if they knew what Kawhi was planning.
Not a great look when Kawhi proceeded to sign with the Clippers 24 hours later. It’s almost as if Chris Broussard had no idea what Kawhi was doing and just tweeted out a ‘vibe’ he was feeling. Wow, that’s so weird and an obvious abuse of power.
Woj would never.
Cris Carter went on his show First Things First and claimed to have a direct line to Kawhi’s agent, Uncle Dennis. Everyone in the NBA would tell you that no one is close to Kawhi. Apparently NFL Hall of Famer, Cris Carter, was the sole media member in the know.
It was reported that the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from signing Kawhi because they kept leaking info and Kawhi wanted to keep everything to himself.
So in what reality would Kawhi completely shut out the Lakers for simply mentioning they met with him while continuing to tell Cris Carter all of his moves so he can go on television and tell the world. The most private man in the NBA texting private info to one of the loudest people on TV.
Either guys like Stephen A. Smith or Cris Carter are lying to stay relevant and get eyeballs on them or—and what is far more likely—is that these guys on TV like Colin Cowherd, are used as mouthpieces by these players and team execs to float out fake rumors for them.
It is no coincidence that guys like Bill Simmons claim to be such good friends with Houston Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, and the Houston Rockets seem to also be in trade rumors.
Daryl Morey has relationships with these writers and analysts and he uses those relationships to purposely talk about wanting to do a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler that way now, it’s talked about on ESPN for 24 hours so that little rumor he whispered to one writer is suddenly a story that now Jimmy Butler has to consider and now the Sixers have no choice but to consider.
That fucking sucks.
We shouldn’t have to discern whether a not a story is a lie or being leaked to fill some agenda. We should be able to watch Stephen A. Smith yell on First Take without also having to figure out if the ‘reporting’ he’s doing between rants is factual or not.
Sports media should never have a ‘fake news’ element to it. The stakes are too low. Just give us facts.
Everyone just listen to Woj and mute everyone else. Woj is the most and only reliable source in sports media.
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