It’s a relatively slow time in the NBA, that much is known. But the desperation for any kind of news led to a lot of people yesterday acknowledging a Bulls rumor that didn’t exist.
It all started with a pretty lame Nick Friedell column at ESPN.com, likely commissioned by that network to comment on their own ‘Summer Forecast’ series that had the Bulls projected to be the worst team in the league. Friedell’s thesis...is unclear. Maybe it’s just the headline: “Picked as worst in the NBA, Bulls are where they want to be”: Is this actually the Bulls desire? Or what Friedell projects as what they should do?
Again, this isn’t made clear. I hope it’s not sharing a not-uncommon take that the Bulls consistent screw-ups over the past two offseasons (he details the failings of every player on the roster) is somehow a ‘plan’, because (and sit down for this) more losses mean a better chance at a high draft pick. Friedell has been strangely carrying water for the team since they CHOSE A PATH, so that’s possible if unfortunate.
But that’s not what made headlines. It was this one line:
Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.
The aggregation siren went off: HoopsRumors, FanRag Sports, ProBasketballTalk, SBNationDotCom (et tu?) all picked up on the ‘breaking’ story that a Wade buyout was happening sooner than previously believed.
This was always fishy! For one thing, and I admit this is based on my own anecdotal memory: Friedell rarely breaks a story. But more skepticism was warranted because while I never went to Syracuse, I’d figure if it was truly new information he would’ve sourced it. What was always more likely is it was just him not being careful (don’t think it was malicious) and repeating the established consensus of the Wade/Bulls situation, erroneously putting in ‘a few months’ and not realizing the impact.
Thursday morning, the story was changed by ESPN.com to “more precisely reflect the Dwyane Wade situation”, HoopsRumors recaps:
without a source to confirm his initial claim, Friedell no longer suggests a buyout is “expected.” While Friedell has backed off that assertion, he still says that “nobody would be surprised” if Wade decides he wants out of Chicago and reaches a buyout agreement with the team in the next few months.
For the record, I’d still be surprised! It’s essentially both sides figuring how much money they want to give up. The Bulls have no actual plan that supersedes saving money, so they will keep Wade around until that happens. Likely not in the ‘next few months’ unless you have a very generous definition of ‘few’ pushing it out to February’s trade deadline.