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Bulls Tue Jun 29 2010

Stop Listening to the Whispers: The Problem with LeBron Sources

As the July 1st free agency starting line comes closer and closer, every news outlet has taken the duty of breaking the LeBron James scoop as their primary goal. Surely the person or people who do manage to lead the pack on the eventually free agent decision will instantly gain credibility, but at what cost? No story has been so sloppily reported in recent memory.

Take a look at these seemingly definitive statements:

"I got a call last night from a source and I double-checked with another and they told me essentially that LeBron James and Chris Bosh are going to tag team and go together and join Dwayne Wade in Miami...Dwayne Wade has done a very good job of convincing them not just about [Heat president] Pat Riley, not just about the fact that there are no [state] income taxes in the state of Florida but at the same time he's there in a tandem and that's what it's going to take." -Stephen A. Smith of Fox Sports on the Dan Patrick Show.

"One source did label Miami as the new frontrunner to land James in a package deal with Bosh and a re-signed Wade" -Chris Broussard and Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

"(An) executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A. executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors. 'I think it's a done deal,' the executive said." -via the NYTimes.com

"A source who's provided accurate information to me in the past has told me that LeBron James will agree to terms with the Bulls by July 3rd after meeting with other teams." -Doug Thonus of Chicago Bulls Confidential.


LeBron James is going to the Miami Heat. LeBron James is going to the Chicago Bulls. Both of these moves are clearly going to happened based on the reporting of these sources.

But do not forget about headlines and stories like these:

"Knicks hope adding Joe Johnson to team will tempt LeBron James to leave Cleveland Cavaliers" -NYDailyNews.com

"Source: Dallas a 'dark, dark horse' in LeBron James race" -ESPN.com.

"Nets may have edge over Knicks in LeBron Derby" -NYPost.com

Things are still a bit messy with only a few days until the all important July 1st date.

No matter what you personally expect to happen in the upcoming weeks, one thing is clear. You can go out and find five sources that confirm what you believe. Then there comes a choice, acknowledge the conflicting reports or simply live in a fantasy world. Much like partisan political junkies this information intake can be shaped in any possible way.

The most telling statement might have come in the previously mentioned article from Chris Broussard and Marc Stein on ESPN.com. They mention that "(Wade) cautioned that James was 'non-committal' with the start of free agency fast approaching" and "(LeBron has) not yet committed to leaving his hometown."

It is the job of media sources in the potential James destinations to play up these rumors, but as fans it does not make much sense to follow. Sources will come, sources will go and, based on what has been reported, sources will be wrong.

The only source that means anything is LeBron James. Until he stands in front of a podium holding his new (or old) team's number six jersey, nothing really matters. This is not going to stop certain fans from reading every new rumor and leaked source that comes across their desks. For the sake of health reasons (both mental and physical), let's all just give it up for the next few days. When the announcement is made we will all be the first to know, it will be unavoidable. Then we can finally get on with what is important: how the James move and resulting free agent scramble will effect the actual play on the court?


 
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