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Daily Babble: Rumor Industry Never Ceases To Amaze

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It really must be a slow news weekend for the NBA rumor mill. 

A cursory glance last night at HoopsHype and RealGM -- two of the top basketball rumors sites on the planet, for those scoring at home -- almost inspired a column centered on my amazement that the Pistons would even consider going after enigmatic point guard Stephon Marbury in the near future.

This occurred thanks to the fact that the headline for RealGM's second featured article said, "Detroit to Call If Marbury Gets Bought Out?" Meanwhile, the top of the front page of HoopsHype read, "Detroit an option?" with a picture of Marbury to the right.

So far as is evident to this point, it appears that both of these headlines were entirely motivated by the following, courtesy of the latest entry to the New York Post's "Knicks Blog," written by Marc Berman:

Stephon Marbury and Flip Saunders spent several minutes in the back room of the locker room conversing. If Marbury is bought out, Detroit may beckon. Marbury loves Saunders and vice-versa.

That's it, folks.  That is the entirety of the "Marbury-to-Detroit" hubbub. 

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This is meant as absolutely no disrespect to Berman, who is a very solid writer and one who consistently does an excellent job on the Knicks' beat (in fact, the guy recently had the guts to post a letter from agent Eric Goodwin, who represents Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson, nastily ripping Berman for his suggestion that the Knicks would be better off by acquiring Carlos Arroyo for their back-court next season).   The comment about Marbury and the Pistons was actually the final of a couple of afterthought-like notes that Berman posted at the conclusion of a pleasant entry commending diehard Knicks fans for keeping the faith and sticking it out with the team through another miserable season. 

Berman simply observed a player and coach with a history (Flip ran the ship during Starbury's time in Minnesota) taking a few minutes to chat and chose to engage in some idle speculation.  Or at least what one would presume to be idle speculation at this point, given that Berman chose not to cite any further sources or evidence for his suggestion.  As all beat writers are supposed to do, he was in the room, and he observed.  As all bloggers are certainly welcome to do, he pondered the possibility of a particular event occurring -- albeit for just a few seconds -- and moved on.   No problems with any of that here.

That two of the top rumors-based sites around chose to turn Berman's mere contemplation into a headline rumor just seems a bit over the top.  I wouldn't go so far as to use the term 'misleading' here, but one would tend to think that those headlines would lead to reports that had been substantiated to a somewhat greater degree.

Then again, perhaps that is simply what happens when we enter into a world of speculation, which is what rumors are in the first place.  With all the unidentified, unofficial -- and often simply uninformed -- sources out there in the first place, perhaps the rumblings inside the cranium of one beat writer are as good a source as any other.

Perhaps this happens with plenty of regularity, and I simply haven't paid it adequate attention in the past.  But it certainly seemed that the sites' use of Berman's words took rumor-mongering to a new level.  Rest assured, we'll be more keenly looking out for this phenomenon in the days to come.