NBA trade rumors typically center around specific potential transactions that are being reported, shared, and discussed online. However, something different and rather intriguing happened earlier this week: the concept of NBA trade rumors as a whole made news and created a firestorm in NBA circles.
It all began on November 14, when former NBA player and current Boston Celtics television analyst Brian Scalabrine made an off-hand remark during a radio show being carried by SiriusXM. Scalabrine stated that he heard Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson might be available, and the Boston Celtics were the team rumored to be after the six-foot-seven NBA All-Star (as detailed by MassLive).
Scalabrine went on to say that he doesn’t understand why the Warriors would trade Klay Thompson right now, but proceeded to lay out a scenario where the Celtics could trade for Thompson, and Golden State could end up with a defensive-minded center in the process. Brian Scalabrine’s report of this NBA trade rumor on national radio and his subsequent opinion on how Boston might make this deal happen caused a strong reaction from NBA personnel and fans alike.
After Scalabrine saw what a furor his comments caused, he backtracked on his statements, claiming that he read this rumor on the internet and thought it was interesting. Brian Scalabrine is not only a former Celtics player, but also a former assistant coach for the Warriors, so the NBA world took notice when he made a public statement that Golden State might trade Klay Thompson. As Scalabrine’s comments began to go viral, mainstream media covering the NBA (and specifically the Warriors and Celtics) began to ask questions.
According to NBA, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr was asked about the rumors that Klay Thompson could be dealt to Boston, and he denied that there was any substance at all to this apparent creation of the NBA rumor mill. However, Scalabrine’s decision to publicly discuss NBA trade rumors he read online has now turned the spotlight on the rumors themselves — and created a separate news story that has gained significant traction on its own.
CBS Sports has published an article that discusses why the rumor of Klay Thompson being traded to the Celtics became such a big news item, as well as how NBA trade rumors are commonly created and circulated. Someone who has NBA connections (in this case, Brian Scalabrine) talking about a Klay Thompson trade rumor on national radio not only gives the report a wide audience, but a certain amount of credibility as well.
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Writer Matt Moore opines that these NBA trade rumors often begin as speculation, then spread as they are propagated via news aggregation sites and social media sharing. Ironically, Moore then offers a lengthy write-up that details the pros and cons of the Warriors trading Klay Thompson, and five teams that would have the most interest in a deal for Thompson if he were on the trading block — so even a piece that began with an anti-rumors slant couldn’t resist joining head-on into the “what if Golden State traded Klay Thompson” discussion.
At this point, as someone who regularly writes about NBA trade rumors and news, I would like to share my take on the philosophical questions related to the reporting of NBA trade rumors.
The most frequent question that seems to come up regarding the reporting of NBA trade rumors is, why do people write about them in the first place? The answer to this question is actually rather simple. When an online content entity (or individual writer) is faced with the decision of what topics to cover, that decision is primarily guided by what the readers want to see — or to put it in terms of economics, it comes down to supply and demand. The demand for NBA trade rumors articles is extremely high, so websites and writers are charged with filling that need, or as actor/comedian George Jessel once said, “give the people what they want, and they’ll come.”
Additionally, readers demand certain types of NBA trade rumors content, as they indicate through the volume of their link clicks and social media sharing. The reader dictates what they want to see, so in essence, they are telling online media companies what they want, and in turn those companies and individual writers are filling the demand, just as in any business that produces a product — the “product” in this case just happens to be the written word.
I am a veteran of over 20 years in the sports industry, including a vast amount of NBA experience as a statistician, writer, and a consultant for two NBA teams. It is therefore a natural fit for me to produce NBA basketball content, and as stated, the readers guide the specifics of what I write about. I have developed an approach to aggregating news about NBA trade rumors that I hope strikes a balance between giving people what they want, while also doing so in the most professional way possible that provides the reader with informative, engaging, and interesting content.
The current batch of NBA trade rumors gained unprecedented attention when Boston Celtics television analyst Brian Scalabrine mentioned a rumor he read online that indicates the Golden State Warriors might trade Klay Thompson to the Celtics. Not only did the rumor itself gain a massive amount of notice as a result, but the general concept of reporting on NBA trade rumors came under scrutiny as well.
NBA fans’ interest in reading about, sharing, and discussing such rumors is not likely to go away any time soon, so while those of us who work in the industry are tasked with providing content people want to read, we also have an obligation to our readers to provide as much quality and value to them as possible. This is a delicate balance that must be a constant focus of attention, and it is one of the most difficult conundrums that online media writers/companies face on a daily basis.
[Featured Image by Winslow Townson/AP Images]