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Wilbon's Arenas Story

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I didn't have a chance to surf the interwebs earlier today, so it was a comment here on ClipsNation that alerted me to this Michael Wilbon story from the Washington Post.  It's a classic example of floating a rumor, without having a shred of evidence to back it up, all the while not saying anything that is factually incorrect.  Here's what Wilbon says about the Clippers and Brand in the piece:

One player who has no baggage, apart from health concerns, is Elton Brand -- a player who would give the Wizards inside scoring they haven't had since Chris Webber was in D.C. Brand has yet to opt out of his current deal, and the Clippers have dreams of re-signing both Brand and Corey Maggette, adding an impact player through the draft and signing another free agent to get back to where they were two years ago when they were one win from the conference finals.

Though Arenas spurned the Clippers for the Wizards a few years ago, sources here in Los Angeles indicate the Clippers are interested in making one more run at Arenas. It makes sense, provided the Wizards could find a sign-and-trade to their liking.

The net effect of those four sentence is to imply that a Brand for Arenas trade is a possibility.  But why?  Does he actually say that?  No.

In the first sentence he says that Elton Brand is good, and that he has no baggage.  True statements - no argument there.  In the second sentence he says that Clippers intend to keep Brand.  In the third he says the Clippers are interested in Arenas, based on infamous 'sources'.  Still I have no argument.  We've heard for months that the Clippers might try to acquire Arenas, and they certainly should at least look.  And here's the kicker.  "It makes sense, provided the Wizards could find a sign-and-trade to their liking."  It?  What is it?  The Clippers interest in Arenas?  Or specifically Brand for Arenas?  Can we safely assume that Brand for Arenas would be 'to their liking'?  That sentence itself is quite a piece of work.  Saying "It makes sense, provided the Wizards could find a sign-and-trade to their liking" is a lot like saying "It makes sense if it makes sense."

Significantly, although he has 'sources' who say the Clippers want Arenas, and he mentions Brand specifically, he does not imply that his sources put Brand's name in play.  It's trade rumor by association.  Brand's name is in the discussion simply because Wilbon wrote a paragraph about how good he is in close proximity to a paragraph about the Clippers wanting to trade for Arenas. 

Elton Brand is better than Gilbert Arenas, and everybody knows it.  For one thing, he plays defense.  For another, he is a team leader.  It's no accident that the Wizards weathered Arenas' near season long absence relatively well while the Clippers were completely gutted by Brand's injury.  The Clippers would NEVER offer Elton Brand for Gilbert Arenas, and I doubt the Wizards would even be so bold as to ask for him.  As I said several months ago, if the discussions get past 'Hello', the Clippers will offer something like Maggette and Mobley, the Wizards will ask for Maggette and Kaman, neither team will agree to the other's deal, and it will all be done. 

There is absolutely nothing to a Brand for Arenas deal, and Wilbon knows it.  He wrote as much in his article.