An NBA rumor can be a tricky beast. Sometimes it meets you in an open field where you expect it and you're armed with the best weapons the 21st century can provide. But sometimes it comes out at you from the toilet while you're doing your business and nips you in the cheek, while you have nothing but a four-month old Sports Illustrated Magazine in your hands to defend yourself.
Here's five steps on how to handle it when your team is the subject of national attention for a rumored deal:
Step One - Bewildered Excitement
When faced with an NBA rumor, the immediate reaction is often bewildered excitement. The fact that your favorite team is involved in trade talk is good enough to get the blood flowing and tickle your synapses with the possibilities. Your team could win a championship! They can become the Boston Celtics of 2007! Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are probably coming over in the primes of their career ready to win you, and only you, a ring. But after a short time, excitement turns to skepticism.
Step Two - Skepticism
Once you realize the source is less legitimate than you had originally thought, the cycle stops turning and the questions about team need and present/future plans enter your mind. Is this a Bleacher Report article? Associated Content? Whoever it is, they don't know jack. Oh, Ric Bucher? The guy who thinks Monta Ellis is one of the best players in the league? Thanks Ric. Maybe stop taking K's off your first name and start learning basketball you red-headed turd. Anyway, that skepticism leads to furious, narcissistic anger in like a minute.
Step Three - Furious, Narcissistic Anger
This quick change arises when you see some douche on your favorite Sixers site (!) write that the player your favorite team is trading for has a high usage rate and doesn't rebound the ball nearly as well as you thought he did. Well, crap. Usage rate is probably important right? God this team sucks! The front office never wants to spend money! People who like stats confuse me! Honey get over here so I can hit you! This anger lingers for some time until your hangover wears off and cynical acceptance sinks in.
Step Four - Cynical Acceptance
Your team's going to make the wrong decision because they are, in fact, your team. And everything bad happens to your team because that's how it is. God hates you. Deal with it. Ball don't lie, just watch Cartier Martin and J.J. Redick hit four-point plays to crush your soul. Go eat nachos and watch reruns of Reno-911 and pretend to be hip with the times, you damn hipster. Either way, it's only a matter of time before acceptance morphs into active ignorance.
Step Five - Active Ignorance
Being actively ignorant is what fans are best at. The life of a story is so short these days that it can evaporate into nothingness in no time. Remember when people were talking about an Andre Iguodala swap for Amare Stoudemire last year? Pry that one from the recesses of your subconscious. That's way down there. Now that the rumor is over and done with and your team has held onto whatever worthless pieces were being talked about in the first place, it's time to reference them ironically in a casual setting on the internet. And now the rumor is dead. You have killed it.
Most rumors don't come to pass. That's why they're rumors. Remember in 4th grade when the kid you thought was your friend caught you picking your nose and started the rumor that you were a nosepicker? And you had to swear again and again that you were just scratching even though you definitely had a booger up there? Well that's nothing like this, but I've really wanted to get that off my chest for a long time. You were right, Jeff.
And the rumor mill keeps on a-churnin'.