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The time George Karl decided to float a crazy trade rumor just because

Feb 10, 2013, 2:01 PM EDT

George Karl AP

It’s my annual warning this time of year — when you hear a trade rumor think, “which team would benefit from that going public?” Usually that will lead you to where it was leaked. And no team is going to make a trade unless it benefits them — both sides need to see it as a win for a trade to happen (whether or not all of us on the outside think it’s a win, the team may).

A lot of rumors this time of year have little to no basis in reality — one team likes an idea and it gets floated publicly to see if that will help it gain some momentum. And some are just made up out of thin air.

Don’t believe that some are just made up? Look at what Nuggets coach George Karl told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

He admitted he once had a contest with coaching pals to see who could get an outlandish rumor into the newspaper first.

“We make up some trade that never was proposed in 100 years and suddenly it’s on ESPN,” he said, smiling.

And here’s the thing — if you’re a reporter and you get a rumor from George Karl (or any NBA coach or assistant coach) that’s a very solid source and you might well run with it. Even if it makes no sense, you got it from the coach.

So again, just be skeptical the next couple weeks. There will be trades — hello J.J. Redick — but when you hear a rumor this is a good time to start of cynical and go from there.

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