ESPN NBA free agent coverage - insulting your intelligence

ESPN NBA free agent coverage - insulting your intelligence

ESPN is by far the largest sports media corporation on planet Earth. ESPN has all kinds of TV networks, and a huge radio network. ESPN NBA coverage is hard to avoid. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

seinfeld bullsville

Photo by Alan Light

There is, however, something wrong with giving people blatantly false misinformation. And if you see any ESPN NBA free agent coverage, that's pretty much what you will get.

On SportsCenter, on First Take, on Twitter. There is plenty of it to go around - and while I don't have a problem with people mistakenly giving out bad info, to do so intentionally is just wrong.

Not that 99% of sports fans care, but those of you who have made Bullsville the home of the intelligent Chicago Bulls fan deserve better.

Let's start with this little tidbit:

Marc Stein Tweet

Obviously, Mr. Stein and ESPN expect you to believe this bit of information. Unfortunately, they have left out the obvious disclaimer - if Melo wants to go to Miami, he doesn't need to wait for Chris Bosh to leave town. Why would he?

bosh bullsville

Photo by Keith Allison

Chris Bosh opted out of his contract with Miami in late June, meaning the Heat are under no obligation to give a shit what he wants. If Pat Riley wants to sign Melo to a max contract, he is 100% free to do so starting July 10th at 12:01 AM EDT. He is 100% free to reach a verbal agreement with Melo right now.

So why does ESPN want you to think that Melo is waiting for Bosh's decision before he decides on whether or not to sign with the Heat? I have my guesses, but you are all free to come to your own conclusions.

If you watched SportsCenter on Monday night, you saw Tim Legler talking about how the Bulls are pretty much out of the Melo sweepstakes because they can't offer as much money as the Lakers or the Knicks. At least he is technically dealing with a little slice of reality, as no team can offer Melo as much as the Knicks.

He went on to comment on how the Lakers can offer Melo a 4 year, $96 contract - which is also true, if they just renounce the rights to all of their free agents, including Pau Gasol. "Renouncing" a free agent simply means you are giving up your Bird Rights to resign him to any amount you want without regard to the salary cap (as I'm sure my readers all know), so I don't have a problem with that report.

I do, however, have a problem with his insistence that the Bulls (paraphrasing) can only offer Melo around $75 million. It's only a problem because the figure is basically made up out of thin air.

As it stands now, if the Bulls renounce all of their free agents, waive the three veterans (James, Amundson and Brewer) with non-guaranteed contracts, and use the amnesty clause to waive Carlos Boozer, they would only be slightly less than $10 million under the salary cap. That would only allow them to offer Melo somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million over four years, nowhere near $75 million.

melo bullsville

Chicago Tribune photo

I"m not going to get into the exact specifics of how much the Bulls can offer Melo by making different roster moves, I've done plenty of that over the last two weeks and you are more than welcome to read the articles again. It's not even such a big deal that ESPN neglected to mention exactly how the Bulls would get to that $75 million figure (though it is crappy "journalism"). I have a problem with them even discussing a figure when they are simultaneously putting out garbage like this:

Chris Broussard Tweet

ESPN NBA coverage on SportsCenter is also spewing the same garbage - and it's not garbage because it's not true, but because they had Tom Penn go into detail about the moves the Rockets would have to make in order to offer Bosh the max.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, the problem with the ESPN NBA coverage is that they are more that willing to report "Rockets offer Bosh the max" at the exact same time they are reporting "Bulls can't offer Melo the max".

I'm sorry, but the Bulls can clear out a few players and offer Melo the max just like Houston can clear out a few players and offer Bosh the max.

Disingenious reporting at its finest.

Thanks ESPN, you've certainly fooled most fans, but Bullsville readers are just too damned intelligent to fall for your crap.

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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