Tracing The McNabb Rumors

Tracing The McNabb Rumors

In case you're only crawling out of your bomb shelters now, Donovan McNabb is still a Philadelphia Eagle. Celebrate or curse at your own discretion.

It seems what started as an unsubstantiated rumor and became a sensational breaking report within a few hours was completely false—at least that's what the St. Louis Rams would have you think. Nothing is imminent though, and depending on who you believe, there hasn't even been a conversation. It's amazing everybody could wander so far off the trail...

Unless I told you the entire rumor began at Bleacher Report.

When 97.5's Mike Missanelli received an anonymous tip yesterday on his show that a trade would be announced within hours, we immediately jumped into action. Unless it was a contact with ties to the Eagles front office, there wasn't any reason we couldn't track down the same information.

So that's exactly what we did. With the assistance of Twitter, we were able to trace the initial rumor all the way back to its internet source. The most recent discussion sprung from a Bleacher Report article asking whether the Rams would pursue McNabb, which began:

Rumors are swirling that the Philadelphia Eagles are in talks to trade Donovan McNabb. Among the likely candidates for the trade is St. Louis, owner of the first pick in the upcoming draft.

If the Rams did trade for McNabb, what might be the compensation? More than likely, it would involve the Rams' second-round pick along with a player (maybe Adam Carriker?). It is highly doubtful that such a trade would involve their first-round pick.

The timing of the story just happened to coincide with Andy Reid's concession that yes, the Eagles are entertaining offers for their quarterbacks, and Donovan McNabb announcing he understands the situation and simply hopes it's resolved quickly. Somebody at WFAN in New York apparently connected the dots, and the speculation was officially under way.

Up to that point, that's all it was. It didn't matter that nobody credible was reporting it though, or that Rams sideline reporter and ESPN radio personality Brian Stull was refuting it very early on. The news grew legs quickly, and there was no stopping it by the time the Inquirer's Jeff McLane got a hold of it. His sources initially verified something was in the works, but apparently have since backed off.

The popular consensus is we were all taken for a ride. The Eagles were obviously interested in generating trade talk, otherwise they would not have changed their stance in such a public manner. By quietly confirming a few highly speculative reports, they were able to create a sense of urgency, for however brief a period, where one did not previously exist. Whether it was of any benefit to them or not, who knows.

Some people are still suggesting there was smoke, so there must be fire, and they might be right too. Despite the strong denials coming out of St. Louis, it's plausible they were close to a deal, but Donovan's contract demands were the final sticking point and caused everything to fall apart. His value plummets as soon as reaching an extension becomes a problem, an often overlooked piece of the puzzle.

And maybe talks aren't finished at all. The most surprising part of this entire thing was the speed at which the Eagles went from finally acknowledging they need to make a trade, to a deal could happen any minute. That's a lot of business for one day—reaching an agreement on a compensation package involving picks and players for a franchise QB, then negotiating an extension. You might even call that timeline unrealistic.

There's no telling what is true at the moment. Could the fact that Bleacher Report and talk radio mentioned it first be a coincidence, or was the chatter used as a diabolical means by the Eagles to promote their own agenda? Better yet, are quality reporters like McLane actually on to something that all the denials in the world couldn't cover up: McNabb is close to becoming a member of the St. Louis Rams?

Either way, things are finally getting interesting.

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks -- and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas (see full recap).

Thomas explodes for 17 in fourth quarter to lift Celtics over Hornets
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period (see full recap).

Wizards remain hot with win over Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON  -- Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Washington Wizards took a page from the Portland Trail Blazers' playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th consecutive home victory. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.

After Washington coach Scott Brooks called Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as good as any backcourt in the league, Beal and John Wall outplayed them. Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.

The Wizards have won four of their last five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).