One thing I know for sure about the trade deadline drama that saw a proposed deal between the Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets fizzle at the last minute, no one reporting on any side of the story knows exactly what happened or what was involved.
Deadline sources range from people in various levels of the a team's organization, to agents or people with varying levels of associations with agents all trying to deliver a positive spin to re-direct attention to best suit their individual interests. History tells us that is magnified further with those stories breaking right around the deadline, so speculating on those reports and trying to paint a picture of what happened is an exercise in fiction.
The details are usually lost in the glaring noise of the biggest names involved in the deal. Then when it doesn't go through, the details don't emerge and it becomes urban legend that, for instance, the Pacers tried to trade Josh McRoberts and a number one pick for O.J. Mayo.
Except anyone paying the slightest bit of attention realizes that deal isn't possible in the current NBA.
It starts to make more sense when we find out the required additional players included Brandon Rush and that the additional team, New Orleans decided to bail on the deal at the last minute. Or did they.
Even after hearing Larry Bird addressed the issue last night before the game, the reports aren't always clear.
I was standing next to Indy Star reporter Jeff Rabjohns, whose work I really respect and who couldn't be a better guy. After reading his story this morning, I realized we simply heard two different things. The story headlined: Bird claims Grizzlies pull deal off table late, includes the following quote from Bird's media scrum.
"I was on the phone with Memphis. We had a deal with five minutes to go. At two minutes, they pulled the deal, and it didn't happen," Bird said, referring to the 3 p.m. deadline set by the NBA.
Well, it depends on what you think "they" refers to and if you listen to the full quote, I don't thing Bird is referring to Memphis. Check out the quote after the jump along with GM David Morway's take on the topic.
"A team pulled out. Everybody is talking about 3:01, that had nothing to do with it because the deal was off the table. I was on the phone with Memphis. We had a deal with five minutes to go. At two minutes, they pulled the deal, and it didn't happen," Bird said, referring to how things broke down at the last minute.
The way I heard that quote, the "they" who pulled out with two minutes to go was "a team" which I assume refers to the third team involved, the NBA-run New Orleans Hornets. Bird didn't want to mention the other team involved for some reason, nor address any other details that weren't common knowledge.
When asked what other players or picks were involved in the deal, Bird declined comment which is expected since the team's don't normally comment on the particulars for deals that don't go through and actually aren't supposed to comment on other team's players. That's where the second and third-hand sources come in to fill reports and try to paint a picture. But interpretations of that picture vary depending on your perspective.
David Morway spoke with JMV yesterday afternoon and was far more forthcoming on how things broke down. According to Morway, the deadline was never a factor because there was no deal in place, not because Memphis backed out but because New Orleans. Three-team trades are very complicated and this particular deal rose up on deadline day.
"We didn't have a lot of time to put the trade together and at the end of the day, in discussions with New Orleans, New Orleans decided not to do the deal," Morway said. "I was a little surprised by what went yesterday and some of the discussions because this is not atypical for us. I guess the only reason this became a big deal is because in Memphis, they discussed the trade publicly as something that was done when it was never done."
Morway was asked about the New Orleans side of the deal and was was involved.
"All I can say is that there were a couple of assets that would have been coming back from New Orleans," Morway explained. "We felt like it would've been a trade that helped our franchise move forward and that's what we're looking for everyday. I wish I could be more specific but it's not appropriate to talke about other team's players."
It would be nice to hear exactly what was involved from all sides of the deal. But, you would have to be a fool not to believe there were other parts to the deal that made it more plausible and palatable for the Pacers. From what I heard a couple of different people (hey, I can traffic in third-hand sources, too), there was more than one draft pick headed to the Pacers which makes the player included from New Orleans a non-factor. It may not have been a player, either, but cash which would still be considered "a couple of assets" as described by Morway.
So believe what you want, but at least consider all sides of the story, including what those who were directly involved have to say.