Latest misinformation a sign of the times

STEVE SIMMONS,SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

The storm of misinformation that surrounds Chris Bosh is not about to go away.

It is part of the rumour culture that is the NBA, sadly part of a new and less responsible media world. And more than even that, it's symptomatic of Bosh's place in basketball when juxtaposed with the Raptors' apparent and sudden decline.

Screamin' A. Smith went on ESPN News on Sunday afternoon and in a segment called The Blitz indicated that Bosh would be available at the coming trade deadline because he had informed the Raptors he would not be signing back with the team once his contract expires in 2010. Smith cited no source for his report, which was just one of many different NBA items.

ESPN, the news agency, thought so little of Smith's mention it did not break it out as a story on its own website. It took a blogger, who writes about the New York Knicks, to bring attention to it. The online blog was then picked up by the gossip-information website HoopsHype.com. And it took a phone-in caller to The Fan 590 yesterday morning to bring attention to the HoopsHype item, which also offered no attribution.

So without any research, The Fan began leading its sportscasts with the news that ESPN was reporting a meeting Bosh had with Bryan Colangelo informing the general manager of his desire to leave the Raptors, when, in fact, ESPN wasn't reporting anything at all. There was no mention of Bosh or Smith's apparent report on espn.com, the most credible sports reporting organization anywhere.

The headline, for the record, on Smith's discussion on ESPN News was about Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Welcome to the brave new media world of broken telephone.

Where an unattributed remark bounces from unreliable source to unreliable source, from blog to website, and somehow gets interpreted as news. It meant Bosh had to answer questions he didn't truly want to address yesterday. It meant Colangelo had to come out of hiding -- he showed himself on Groundhog Day of all things, not certain if there will be six more weeks of bad basketball -- and answer questions.

"Today's story is a non-issue but here we are talking about it," Colangelo said. "It's just another example of information out there that's not true. It's unfortunate, and it's part of the business. There does not seem to a lot of accountability out there."

This is not the first time Bosh's status in Toronto has been at issue. As recently as a few weeks ago, former Raptor Jalen Rose indicated on ESPN that Bosh would not be re-signing with the Raptors. Again, this all may be true come 2010, but unless Bosh and Colangelo are lying, neither has made up his mind about the future. Colangelo put to rest Screamin' A.'s original premise from Sunday's report, which was that Bosh will be available come trade deadline later this month and the Miami Heat, who had been fishing around Jermaine O'Neal, were more interested in Bosh than O'Neal.

Colangelo was clear that he will not trade Bosh -- not this year -- not until or unless he is informed that Bosh won't be re-signing. Next season, is a different story, maybe a different Raptors team. This season, though, no deal.

At least not with Bosh. There almost certainly will be some kind of O'Neal trade in the coming weeks. There may be other deals as well. This Raptors roster is nothing but flawed and everybody but Colangelo, publicly at least, seems to see that.

Colangelo believes in Bosh, the emerging Andrea Bargnani, point guard Jose Calderon, and believes in, despite his record, coach Jay Triano.

"We are looking to get better," Colangelo said. "It's no different than any other day. We're making calls. We're fielding calls."

Only yesterday, calls came in asking about the availability of Bosh. Turns out, his brethren read HoopsHype. And Colangelo had to tell other general managers what he told the media at Raptors practice yesterday. Yes, it is indeed a brave new and not necessarily better world.


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