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: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart (see full recap).

Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder over Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored 17 points in his 28th triple-double of the season, and his new teammates fit in seamlessly as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 110-93 on Friday night.

Westbrook also had 18 rebounds and 17 assists for the 65th triple-double of his career.

It was the first game for new Thunder players Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, acquired Thursday in a trade with the Chicago Bulls. Gibson scored 12 points and McDermott added eight, even though they arrived Thursday night and weren't even available for shootaround on Friday.

Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson each set a career high with 19 points, and Steven Adams added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.

D'Angelo Russell scored 29 for the Lakers (see full recap).

Pacers beat Grizzlies to snap six-game skid
INDIANAPOLIS -- CJ Miles made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points, Paul George had nine points and nine rebounds after remaining with Indiana following the trade deadline, and the Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 102-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Monta Ellis finished with 16 points, Myles Turner scored 12, and Lavoy Allen, Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young each added 10 for the Pacers.

The Pacers outscored the Grizzlies 64-42 across the middle two quarters and never relinquished their lead, leading by as many as 27 points in the second half. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 41 percent from the floor (35 for 84).

Troy Daniels had 13 points for Memphis and Marc Gasol scored 12. Indiana outrebounded Memphis 50-39 and scored 29 points off 17 Grizzlies turnovers (see full recap).

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench (see feature highlight).

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season, he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.”