Sometimes we get so wrapped up in a rumor that we forget about how we heard about it, or how it began.
Let’s take the Rajon Rondo for Pau Gasol rumor for example, a rumor that Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge flat out deny.
I get that GM's and coaches have to lie to the media and the public sometimes. It's understood. But personally, I believe them this time. Why? Pretty simple (other than the fact that how can they make this trade after both completely denied any part of it?). It all started with nothing more than a Hoopsworld.com article filled of speculation, deciphering, and a source that may or may not be in the know.
I don’t blame the writer for the article completely. He made it pretty clear that he was simply interpreting what Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said to another reporter (albeit a bit of a stretch).
Some of you already know the origin, and if so, keep reading, because I will get into quotes on trade rumors from Rajon Rondo and Doc Rivers. But for those who are unaware of how it all started, here’s a quick breakdown:
A reporter asked Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak what he would like to address at the trade deadline. His response was:
"Well, if there were a way for us to get a 25-year-old, All-Star, ball-handling guard we’d love to do it … but that’s not likely in February. So you look at other alternatives, and see if it’s better than what you have. That’s all."
There’s the quote that started it all. Hoopsworld took that quote and made that description of "Player X" into Rajon Rondo, comparing Kupchak's answer to a time he may have been describing Andrew Bynum while Bynum was still in high school before he eventually drafted him. It was an angle, something to think about at most.
After that, Hoopsworld said sources told them the Celtics had interest in a Gasol for Rondo trade. (Seems weird that this bit of news wouldn’t lead the article...)
The point is, everybody picked up on the article, interpreted it in their own (wrong) way, and in no time a Rondo-for-Gasol rumor was plastered all over the Internet, print, radio, and television.
All that led to Friday night, where Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo had to answer to trade rumor questions – questions that will keep coming.
"I don't mind any rumors that are true," Rivers said. "I think I'm pretty up front with you guys about it. I do get upset when they're not true or, you know, in my opinion sometimes news is created and then sometimes people report on the news that they created. And when that happens I'm not real happy with it.
"So in this case [of not getting along with Rondo], and the Gasol case, that's two already this year I haven't been real happy with because there was no truth to that. The Gasol rumor was even crazier. That was just ridiculous. I don' know where it came from. When that kind of stuff happens it bothers you because it's being created by somebody outside of your touch, and there's nothing you can do about it."
(Side note: Rivers pregame on if he heard of the rumor involving Kevin Garnett for Josh Smith: "Just now.")
And it’s certainly not the first time rumors have surfaced about Rondo and the Celtics trading him. He’s all too familiar with it.
"It’s déjà vu," Rondo said when asked about the rumors.
He was then asked if the rumors bothered him, and after a long pause, he simply said, "No."
Rivers addressed the rumor of he and Rondo not getting along on Thursday to ESPNBoston.com, when he said, "My relationship with Rajon is as strong as it has ever been. Our communication has never been better. I want him here. I can say with almost 100 percent certainty he will be here with us when the season ends. I'm tired of this stuff. It's not fair."
Rondo appreciated Rivers clearing the air after hearing his name being dragged through the mud over the last few weeks (and really, much longer than that).
"I don’t know where people are getting their information from," Rondo said. "That was big of Doc to come out with a statement. People are still going to say me and Doc have problems. Even after Doc made that comment he made, or statement he made, people are still going to say whatever they say. It's just part of life.”
The thing is, Rondo, that some people no longer care where the information comes from. Just keep it comin'.
How will the rumors affect the team? Well, if Friday night is any indication, not much. But if things start to go south again over the next couple of games, and Rivers thinks rumors have something to do with it, he’ll deal with it.
"If I think it affects a guy or even affects a team you'll talk about it, sometimes you don't. It literally is over the years it's a day-to-day thing through that stretch. There's no other way around it. You're up front as much as you can be, and that's all you can do."
So the Rondo-Gasol rumor has been squashed. The fact that it took the life that it did is an unfortunate circumstance. But in the age of information at the drop of a Google search, rumors like this pop up every day and will continue to.
Who can you trust anymore? It's your classic "boy who cried wolf" situation. You, the reader and fan, are too often being misinformed these days. It seems the want/need to be "first" in a report has overtaken the want/need to be "accurate". Is it every reporter or news outlet? No, of course not. But when one outlet rolls on a rumor or "source", the rest follow, or be deemed "late to the party". The result at times is irresponsible reporting.
Celtics president Danny Ainge summed up the Rondo-for-Gasol rumor on 850 WEEI Thursday, saying that with all these talk shows and panel shows, people "have to have something to report on." He finished with this quote: "Nobody called and checked with me on whether that was true or not, and I'm not sure they care."
Welcome to the fast food nation of sports reporting.