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Ric Bucher Criticizes Chris Broussard’s Fantasy Lakers Report That ESPN Stole from Another Writer

This story is so fantastic on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with earlier this week, when ESPN NBA writer Chris Broussard “reported” that the Lakers were interested in adding Chris Paul AND Dwight Howard. We had heard several times before that Dwight was interested in the Lakers, and it was natural to figure the Lakers would be interested in Paul. But adding both players? It was enough to send all of Los Angeles into a frenzy. The funny thing is there was nothing original about Broussard’s “report” that wasn’t already published a week earlier. On Monday, November 28th, former Lakers beat writer Mark Heisler published a column on Sheridan Hoops reporting the exact same thing. Heisler said the Lakers were dreaming of adding both CP3 and Dwight Howard, and that they had the pieces to make competitive trade offers for both players. Tell me what information from Broussard’s report was any different from what Heisler wrote eight days earlier. Nothing, except he used Heisler’s report (which was mentioned here at LBS, at CBS Sports, and elsewhere), to help him form the story. Oh yeah, Broussard’s sources also told him that Paul and Howard had conversations about playing together. Might his sources be Yahoo! Sports, who had that scoop on December 1st? Then on Wednesday, the real fun began.The good folks at I am a GM transcribed a portion of an ESPN NBA Today podcast where ESPN radio host Ryen Russillo and ESPN NBA reporter Ric Bucher discussed the fantasy Lakers trade report.Ric Bucher: We’ve blown out this Dwight Howard, Chris Paul thing to the Lakers. It’s practically impossible. For both of those teams it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because they would be looking to get off money and to rebuild. I know for both of them, they want young talent and draft picks. The Lakers can’t offer either team that.Ryen Russillo: Right, and that’s why I never quite understand it. You’re right, we blew out the coverage cause it sounded awesome.Ric Bucher: It sounds great. I mean, I dunno.Ryen Russillo: We can’t help ourselves. That was just too juicy. Too good.Ric Bucher: I know it’s juicy. When we do stories like that, I wish we would put them in context. As opposed to this could really happen which it can’t. …. Here’s the thing for me, if you’re going to treat it as a serious news story and not a fantasy story than you have to be able to define what it is that Orlando would like out of that deal. How it would work? How it could feasibly work? We never went to that step. We just said, ‘they have talent’. Sure, the Lakers are interested in getting those two guys. You know what, 29 other teams do too.Everything about Bucher’s commentary is priceless. First off, ESPN is in the business of trade rumors. Rumors are exciting. They get people talking. They drive chit-chat and they create buzz. They even sell tickets.Trade rumors are a valuable tool for a network looking to fill round-the-clock programming across several different platforms. Without them, what would all the writers and talk show hosts discuss? For this reason, it’s no surprise that most of ESPN’s trade rumors are anonymously sourced. Many people don’t like talking on the record, but this guise makes it difficult for the public to tell if a story is real or manufactured. That’s not an issue with ESPN, because they’re often only interested in creating a buzz.So back to the podcast, you have Ric Bucher essentially saying that Chris Broussard’s report was all sizzle and no steak. ESPN had turned its network into a fan message board where diehards fantasize about how their team can improve.But wait a second, this is the NBA we’re talking about — the league where LeBron, Wade, and Bosh all teamed up in Miami. The league where the Lakers somehow acquired Pau Gasol for very little. The league where Kevin McHale dumped Kevin Garnett to his buddy, Danny Ainge. Trades that don’t make sense seem to happen in the NBA, and they seem to always benefit high-profile teams. Knowing that is the case, shouldn’t we just trust that the Lakers will walk away with Chris Paul and Dwight Howard if they want both players? It seems impossible, but remember, this is the NBA, where even the improbable is possible. So just sit back, argue away, debate the issues, and remain entertained, just like the league and the network drew it up for you. About Larry Brown:Larry Brown has over nine years of professional sports media experience, working in online, radio, and TV capacities. He recently was a nationally syndicated sports radio host. Follow him on twitter @LBSports ***Get the Full LBS Experience on our twitter page***

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