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There was (almost certainly) never a deal for Kobe

So by now I'm sure you heard that the Pistons were gunning for Kobe Bryant until they found out Kobe wouldn't waive his no-trade clause to play in Detroit. As far as I can tell, ESPN's Ric Bucher first got the ball rolling on this rumor a couple of days ago, but he didn't name names or say when it happened.

But that's okay, talk radio has a way of filling in blanks that don't actually exist, and not only naming names but also came up with a timeline:

According to radio station 1270 AM in Detroit, the Lakers and Pistons came to an agreement to trade Bryant to the Pistons.

However, Bryant used his no-trade clause to veto the trade.

The report claims the deal was completed late Tuesday night.

Detroit would have sent Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, Amir Johnson and a first round pick to the Lakers.

There's a catch, though; it's not true, at least according to the Freep's Krista Jahnke:

ESPN's Ric Bucher reported this week that various sources told him the Pistons made a stab at acquiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant. The Pistons were rumored to have put a trade offer on the table, but Bryant used his no-trade clause to bat it down.

The rumor sent shock waves through the Internet message boards and talk radio, but the proposal also didn't happen, a high-ranking Pistons official said Wednesday.

Considering Bucher's initial report essentially called Joe Dumars a liar, he has a built-in defense for the front office's current denials. But still, enough red flags exist for both teams (Detroit's team would be gutted; the Lakers aren't getting the big name they're seeking) for the discerning fan to doubt the rumors validity. Sadly, the rumor still grew long enough legs for me to feel compelled to finally comment, as much as I tried to ignore it.

Of course, there wouldn't be any of this confusion at all if everyone quit relying on unnamed sources. In the business of sports, there will always be more people willing to speak anonymously about this type of thing than on the record, but that also opens the door for reporters to rely on sources that simply aren't as plugged-in as their juicy soundbite makes them sound. It may sell papers and fill airtime, but in the end it wastes everybody's time.