February Rumor Mill Doesn't Spin the C's
WALTHAM, Mass. – Google searches for “NBA trades” are up 120 percent over the last week, according to Google Trends.
Yup, it’s that time of the year again.
Every February is accompanied by two things when it comes to the NBA: the All-Star game and the trade deadline. The All-Star game will be played on Feb. 17 and the trade deadline is at 3 p.m. on Feb. 21.
As the league’s greatest players plan their weekend together in Houston and general managers have some downtime to make phone calls, trades scenarios begin to surface throughout the league. This is when the rumor mill begins swirling at its highest speeds.
“It’s part of the year, right around All-Star, right after All-Star, where you start to hear things,” Kevin Garnett said. “Some of it’s chatter, some of it’s real.”
That’s what Garnett said, but it’s probably not what he was thinking. What was more likely to be running through his mind was, “Most of it’s chatter, barely any of it’s real.”
With such a perspective, Garnett and Doc Rivers would be very much on the same page.
Rivers was asked about several rumors, as well as this time of year in general, prior to Tuesday’s practice in Waltham, Mass. Doc’s response and the tenor of his voice made it sound as if he’s actually disgusted by the amount of misinformation that the media runs with.
“All from you guys, not from us,” Rivers said of the rumors. “Really. I would like to say that. Sometimes I like you guys, (and) sometimes some of the stuff that happens is just silly. It really is. When I wake up in the morning and I hear a trade rumor that I haven’t heard in my office, that’s silly.”
Rivers continued to bash false rumors throughout his media session. He rightfully stated that things have changed since his day and age. There were no Internet blogs back in the 80s and 90s. The nation’s top editors frowned upon stories citing anonymous sources. Nowadays, it’s the exact opposite. Truth doesn’t matter as much as page views.
“I think what’s changed in my time as an athlete – no longer an athlete, as a coach – is it used to be factual,” said Rivers. “Now it’s someone can say something and they can create the news and then they can report on the news that they created, and I think that’s pretty silly.”
Rivers compared the two eras again moments later.
“I think in our era when a trade was being discussed you probably should get nervous because it may have been true,” he said. “Nowadays you can’t believe half the things you read or hear. It’s too bad.”
As fictitious as the rumor mill may be, the fact of the matter is that the February rumor mills is as sure of a thing as the sun rising every morning. It’s going to happen. Period. Players and coaches must figure out a way to deal with it.
The good news for Rivers and the Celtics is that this Boston team is constructed mostly of experienced players who have been around the block – or, in this case, maybe on the block – a time or two. They’ve dealt with rumors before and are well equipped to handle them.
“Fortunately for our guys, a lot of them are veterans, so they’ve been through the drill. They know how it is,” said Rivers. “They know now that if you suggest, ‘Hey, what about if someone did this,’ it becomes actual (reports in the press).”
Boston’s most seasoned veterans are Garnett and Paul Pierce. They are currently playing in their 17th and 15th NBA seasons, respectively. Garnett has switched teams only once and Pierce has been in Boston for his entire career, but both players understand that the NBA is a business, and they aren’t the CEO.
“It is a business, and when that crosses the paths then I’ll deal with it,” Garnett said hypothetically after being asked about rumors. “But trades are a part of this league. Every year you’re going to hear certain things.
“If I were y’all, I wouldn’t read too much into it.”
Pierce sure doesn’t read into any of it. He’s heard every name in the book mentioned in trades during his 15 seasons. All of those rumors have assisted in refining Pierce’s ability to tune out the annual white noise.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to it,” Pierce stated before practice. “Whatever happens just happens. It’s going to play out the way it’s going to play out, just like in the Draft when I got drafted; it played out the way it was supposed to play out. So things of that nature really don’t bother me, have no effect on how I perform, how I’m going to practice, how I’m going to approach every day.”
Those are words spoken by a true vet who is just one of many on this Celtics team. Will Pierce and the C’s have to deal with rumors until Feb. 21? Absolutely. That’s just the nature of the beast.
That beast, however, is often a fictional character, and it won’t have any effect on this strong-minded Celtics team.