The NBA offseason can be a ton of fun in the age of social media. With the tendency of not only fans but writers to quote things and run with them without checking original sources, it’s easy for a trade rumor to catch fire and burn across the Internet. Such was the case with the most recent Rudy Gay to the Chicago Bulls “rumors.”
How did all of this get started and is there any truth to it?
Back on June 23, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported:
For now, the Kings are pursuing trade scenarios for everyone on the roster, including talented forward Rudy Gay, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Sacramento officials believe it will be difficult to find a trade partner that can give the Kings the value it wants for Cousins – and has a better chance to find a deal for Gay, sources said.
Two days later, the website Hoops Rumors picked up on this and relayed the rumor. This isn’t really crucial to the “rumor,” but it’s part of the story of how it got started.
Then on August 29, someone going by the alias, The Sports Guy, writing for the English version of a website called “Yibada,” dug up the old quote and did some speculating on his own:
Kings top decision-maker Vlade Divac stressed a number of times already that it would take a mammoth of an offer for them to let their franchise player walk away. Therefore, a scenario in which Cousins playing with another team is unlikely, at least for this coming season.
However, Cousins isn’t the only one on the Kings roster who is generating trade interest. Rudy Gay, who is playing for his third NBA team, could change uniform again at some point next season, especially if the Kings bomb out of playoff contention before the mid-season trade deadline.
No other than Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported about the Kings interest in finding a right trade for Gay.
Kings higher-ups believe it’ll be tough to find value for Cousins and believe they have a better chance to find the right trade for Rudy Gay, according to Wojnarowski (H/T Hoops Rumors).
Note that he referenced Hoops Rumors and didn’t link back to the original article. That gives the impression of the news being more current than it actually is.
He then speculates:
There’s no assurance this particular deal would go down this season, but the Bulls will certainly explore trade options to give them a strong starting five worthy of rivaling that of the Cavaliers and even West contenders like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. And Gay’s name is undoubtedly atop their wish list.
In actuality, there’s no indication whatsoever that Gay’s name is even near the Bulls’ wish list. But that hasn’t stopped numerous writers in the last couple of days from speculating on the merits of the trade “rumor.”
But this is one of those times where we have to distinguish between “rumor” and “speculation.” A rumor means that there’s inside information that sides are talking. Sometimes that inside information can be an agent or someone lying to get his client more money or a better situation, but it’s actual inside information nonetheless.
Speculation can be anywhere from a credible reporter answering a question in a mailbag to some random dude on a laptop just pulling stuff out of his hat because it’s the offseason, and there’s nothing else to write about.
That hasn’t stopped many Bulls bloggers from running with the story, though.
This particular “rumor” caught fire because Wojnarowski is the best at breaking news, and people didn’t check the date of the articles. Thus, it caught fire in spite of the fact that it’s two months old; the Kings have made numerous offseason moves since then, and there’s nothing to indicate they’re still looking to trade Gay.
I could certainly get behind the idea of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Gay, Nikola Mirotic and Joakim Noah running the court and playing Hoiball together. Dealing Gibson for a starting-caliber small forward is logical. There’s nothing about this scenario that’s not “sensible.”
But sensible doesn’t constitute a rumor either; substance does. And until you hear of actual talks between the Kings and Bulls, don’t believe in this “Yibada” bill of goods.