Feb 07 2014

Report: Anonymous Sources Manipulate Sportswriters

Yesterday afternoon, Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling reported, via a source, that the Sixers would likely keep Evan Turner beyond the trade deadline.

The tweet garnered a lot of attention (36 retweets and eight favorites), and gained a lot of steam on Sixers Twitter, with writers from Liberty Ballers, Philadunkia, and Hoop76 spreading Zwerling’s report. That’s not surprising. We’re two weeks away from the trade deadline, Evan Turner is a big name, and Zwerling is a professional writer hired to report on these kinds of things. Naturally, people took notice.

But let’s take a look at this rumor from the Sixers’ perspective. Turner is a poor defender and an inefficient scorer on the last year of his contract. Statheads hate him and he’ll demand a big contract in the offseason. The Sixers are a lottery-bound team run by an analytic-friendly front office and right now they’re more interested in collecting assets than winning games.

So, with two full weeks until the Feb. 20 trade deadline, you’re telling me that they’ve decided to hold onto Turner unless they’re offered a first rounder? I call bullshit.

Here’s a more likely scenario: Zwerling’s source has ulterior motives. Whether that’s to boost Turner’s reputation heading into free agency, or build his trade value on behalf of the Sixers, we can only speculate. But if you’re worried that GM Sam Hinkie would let a trade asset walk away for nothing, take a step back and assess the situation.

While we’re here, it’s worth noting that in December, Zwerling quoted a source “familiar with the Sixers front office” and another source “close to Turner” in an article discussing a “Dion Waiters to Philadelphia” rumor. Such a trade would make sense, Zwerling writes, because Waiters is from Philadelphia, he’s cheap, and he’d fit well with Michael Carter-WIlliams. Whatever.

Here’s where it gets ridiculous (bold mine, WTF mine).

“If the Sixers are interested, it will no doubt force a difficult decision. Turner, who’s one of the most versatile young stars in the league (WTF), is having a breakout campaign, averaging 19.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists per game. A source close to Turner believes the Sixers “love” the fourth-year shooting guard, but warned that the organization has “one of the most secretive front offices,” so it’s hard to tell what they’re planning to do with him.”

So, we have a source who wouldn’t go on record saying that he believed that the Sixers loved Turner. Believed they loved. That’s wrong, but not exactly controversial. He then says nobody knows what the hell Philly’s front office is planning.  Here, the source is probably right! But if the goal is to provide a service to the public through the written word, then why quote someone who, admittedly, isn’t in the know?

We don’t know whether this is the same source who was responsible for yesterday’s Turner update. But any anonymous source should be taken with a grain of salt. We’ll be seeing plenty of these guys starting rumors over the next two weeks. Turn on your bullshit detectors, and think before you retweet.

  • Wesley Share

    David Falk, man.

    • TheAnswer3

      Yep definitely his agent