The NBA rumor mill is swirling with reports of major free agents going to one city or another. The validity of those rumors is frustratingly misleading.
Many “rumors” boil down to speculation. The main churner of the speculation mill is ESPN. ESPN’s writers whip up daily “scoops” on what free agents are doing in free agency.
For instance, ESPN wrote how Bosh is considering a maximum contract offer from the Houston Rockets. “Chris Bosh is seriously considering the Houston Rockets' maximum contract offer of four years, $88 million, according to sources close to the situation,” wrote Chris Broussard.
If you duck your head out of ESPN’s plum of let’s-make-a-storyline-gas, other major sports journalists like Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report have reported: “for all the Chris Bosh reports out there, I keep checking back and keep hearing same: he intends to be in Miami” and “short of billboards over I-95 & skywriting over South Beach, I'm not sure what else Bosh can do 2 convince ppl he prefers to stay in Miami.”
Let’s not forget in an interview shortly after losing the NBA finals Bosh said ''We want to stay together, man I'll say that. It's a great organization, great team and great city. And to have a chance, that's all you can ask for.''
Now the Speculation mill is asserting LeBron James is likely going to return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to former ESPN NBA writer and Editor-in-Chief of sheridanhoops.com, Chris Sheridan, a “Plugged in source says 90 percent chance @KingJames returns to #Cavs.” I’m ‘plugged’ into the Miami Heat, I live in South Florida, does that make me qualified to assert I have 90 percent confidence LeBron is going to a certain team? No.
The only person that can be even nearly 90 percent confident where James will play next season is LeBron and his wife. Unless Sheridan is communicating with James himself I’d take his prediction with a few tablespoons of doubt, especially when you consider Sheridan’s tweets after the 90 percent proclamation. Sheridan wrote “Look at it this way: Does LBJ go with excellent young core, or older core that was overmatched vs. Spurs? Plz summon ur inner Spock, folks.” That tweet shows Sheridan’s bias and that his source is really himself fishing for web traffic for his website.
An easy refutation of the logic Chris Sheridan was beckoning his readers to use is: why doesn’t LeBron sign a one year deal with the Heat then sign with the Cavaliers next year. After the youngsters on the Cavaliers roster get a little more league experience they will certainly have a championship caliber core, but this year, even with LeBron, the Cavs don’t beat the best team in the Western conference.
Without “sources” how do you get the beat of free agency? The real answer is the one no one wants to hear: you don’t. The only way to confidently know what’s happening in free agency is signings and team press releases.