Lost in the uncertainty and angst over Chris Paul's separated shoulder was the gem of innuendo journalism from Chris Broussard and his editors at ESPN.com about an allegedly potential trade of Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks for Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. Please do not click on the link I'm about to provide you, because it will only drive up ESPN's page views, thus accomplishing their original goal. My blogger ethics require me to provide the link, but you don't have to follow it. Again, I repeat: DO NOT CLICK ON THIS LINK! I'll excerpt the most hilarious bits below, trust me. But don't give Chris Broussard another page view for this steaming pile of crap.
The headline itself "Sources: Melo-for-Griffin discussed" is amazingly, brilliantly misleading. Because obviously that headline is completely accurate -- at the very least, some folks at ESPN have been discussing a Melo-for-Blake trade: discussions along the lines of "It sure would generate a lot of traffic if people thought there was some possibility of a Melo-for-Blake trade."
Talking heads at ESPN like Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless have been floating this sideshow freak bit of speculation for weeks now. I've mostly ignored it for the garbage that it is, though when Nate Timmons of Denver Stiffs asked me about the rumors during a recent question-and-answer session, I felt compelled to address the situation head on:
Griffin's a better rebounder, passer and defender, plus he's younger, still improving, less expensive, signed for longer, more likeable, better looking, a better actor, and nicer to animals (I'm just assuming on the animals part, but it stands to reason). Griffin is wildly popular among Clipper fans and the front office would think twice about trading him for a player who is actually better than he is for fear of alienating the fan base. They would scoff at the idea of doing it for Anthony.
Broussard and ESPN are now trying to take the Melo-for-Blake idea beyond idle speculation to the realm of "discussions" all according to "sources". In short, they're treating this as newsworthy, which it certainly is not. Pull at the thread even a little and the whole things begins to unravel.
First of all, by putting "Melo-for-Griffin" and the verb "discuss" together in the headline, they're clearly trying to imply that some form, any form, of discussion has occurred between the Knicks and the Clippers -- but reading the article, that's not even the case. Apparently, we're reporting here on "internal discussions", again, according to "sources."
So what would an internal Clippers' discussion of a Griffin-for-Anthony trade look like in order for Broussard's "source" to be able to say it happened?
Gary Sachs: Hey Doc, did you hear Skip Bayless talking about us trading Griffin for Anthony?
Doc Rivers: What an idiot.
But seriously, is a trade discussion a trade discussion if the two parties haven't actually spoken to each other about it? How difficult is it to pick up the phone? Are we really reporting on trade rumors that haven't even reached the "Hey Gary, it's me Steve Mills" stage? Next Broussard is going to tell us that according to his sources a tree fell in the forest and did make a sound.
The story is so fast moving, that it was evidently over before it began, because while it's all about a trade "discussion," within 120 words we find out that the alleged discussion went nowhere, at least according to Broussard's most definitive statement about the matter:
One source close to the situation said the Clippers' latest internal discussion ended in favor of keeping Griffin.
Knock me over with a feather. So glad we covered that. "We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with this breaking news. Someone may have thought about doing something, but then decided not to. No film at 11."
Even more hilarious in all of this is the implication that the Knicks would somehow be hesitant to make this trade.
As of now, neither team is certain it would make an Anthony-for-Griffin trade, the sources said.
Well, as of now, the Knicks are looking at the eventuality of Anthony becoming a free agent this summer, and he'll dictate the team he goes to for any trades before that time by his willingness to re-sign for the new team. The Knicks have a losing record and zero leverage in this situation -- the idea that they'd turn up their noses at Griffin is even more laughable than the idea that the Clippers would accept the trade.
I don't know if there's any agenda here other than ESPN wanting to generate page views. Is it possible that someone in the Knicks camp thinks talking about this will make it any more likely? Does Carmelo's team think that stories about his eventual departure will somehow improve his situation? It's difficult to say.
As for any Melo-for-Griffin discussion, I guarantee you that it will always end in a single word from the Clippers side: NO.