Panic set in throughout Miami at around 5:45 pm as we heard these possibly sobering words:
Wade to take second meeting with Chicago.
Callers flooded The LeBatard Show not believing what they had heard. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, who had been reporting all season that Wade was staying in Miami, even called in to talk about the possibility that Wade was leaning towards Chicago and teaming up with LeBron there.
Meanwhile in Twitterland, The Miami Herald 's Mike Wallace and 790 The Ticket's Jorge Sedano cautioned fans not to overreact, and that the Bulls had requested the meeting and that Wade was taking it out of courtesy.
But ESPN's Chad Ford reported that it was Wade who requested the meeting, and that he's leading towards the Bulls.
Who's right? Who's wrong? What does it all mean?
It could mean everything, it could mean nothing.
I trust the principles involved, like Wade and Bosh's agent Henry Thomas texting Sun-Sentinel reporter Ira Winderman stating that there's no signing imminent. That's something I can trust 95 percent.
But unless you follow Ira on Twitter (I do) or live in South Florida (which I do) you probably didn't hear that.
Most sports fans get their news from ESPN. See, ESPN doesn't realize exactly how much power they have over how fans think or feel over sports.
So in a way it made sense that ESPN would report that Wade requested the meeting when every other reliable source claimed it was the Bulls. And if it was Wade that requested the meeting, then wouldn't there be a contract imminent?
As euphoric as Miami felt in the last four days since Steven A Smith's report that the trio were coming to Miami, they feel depressed today about the prospect of Wade outright leaving The Heat.
I'll admit, I've had to be talked off the ledge as well. Wade leaving the Heat would vault pass Allan Houston's miracle shot and Stan Van Gundy butchering the last four minutes of game seven of the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals to tie with Stoyonovich missing that field goal against San Diego in 1994 amongst my biggest sports let downs of all time.
But the real reason I'm on edge over this story isn't the story itself, but the myriad of different ways its being told. The reporters are getting news from their "sources," and each source tends to say something different. I'm sorry but, there can't be that many sources around them. Even when Woodward and Bernstein were doing there thing, there was only one "Deep Throat," not a slew of them telling Bob Woodward one thing and Carl Bernstein another.
Nope, these sources aren't meeting Adrian Wojnarowski, Chad Ford, and Mike Wallace in a parking garage while wearing trench coats, but we don't know who they are or what their motivations are.
I do know that the Chicago Bulls organization knows how to work the media better than just about any other organization, so I wouldn't put it past them and some of their lackey's to be the source.
The Bulls have an arrogance about them, that without them there's no basketball, that they're the end all be all. You can see this in their dealings with players, coaches, and fans.
They tend to forget two things: if the Blazers draft Jordan over Bowie, they don't have any rings, and if the ping-pong balls don't land the way they did two years ago, Derrick Rose is a member of the Miami Heat.
Being in the third biggest media market in the country, they know how to play the media, and they're doing just that. Who knows what's really going on? In reality, just Wade, Bosh, and LeBron. No one can really go into their mind and analyze it. Its almost as if they're playing a game with the reporters, trying to throw them off the scent of what they're doing.
Of course, when you talk about arrogance, nothing gets more arrogant than sports pundits. They always want to be right, and always want to be the first with a scoop. The new wave of reporting is throw some crap to the wall and see what sticks.
And they wonder why newspapers are dying.
ESPN is the worst offender of this. Sadder still is that when you're on top of the game, you should set the standard. ESPN's standard is terrible. Its not about the news, but the opinion piece of the news.
So you take normally pompous people like sports pundits, and put them in a situation where they don't know whats going on and are being played with, in turn, they turn to the fans and begin to play with them too.
Truth is this, responsible journalism means, don't report anything until anything happens. Don't speculate and report your speculation as fact. Don't project your desires and present those as facts. (*cough* SIMMONS *cough* )
This rush to judgement at the expense of responsible journalism is actually our fault as fans. We want to be on top of things, we want to find out what happens the minute it happens.
They want more clicks to their web page, more viewers to their family of networks. It's a machine everyone feeds into. Our appetite for up to the minute news is insatiable.
Don't you think Wade, LeBron, and Bosh, three media savvy guys, who are as much entertainers as they are athletes, know this about us as fans? And if you think our appetite for news is insatiable, look at the trio's appetite for attention.
We won't know anything about anything until names are signed on the dotted line, the i's are dotted, and the t's are crossed. That's when we can either start celebrating or panicking.
But for now, relax, hope for the best, and remember that all we really have to go on is pretty much what either Stugotz or LeBatard himself said in this tweet:
"Espn and the New York times and fox are reporting on free agency that cluckcluckcluckcluckcluckwadecluckclucksourcescluckcluckleboshcluck."
Thomas Galicia is never afraid to share the identity of his sources; common sense, rationalization, and patience. He's not afraid to admit that he doesn't know where Wade, LeBron, or Bosh are going, but would like it if you followed him on twitter (@miamisportsdude) regardless. Leave a comment or e-mail him at email@example.com. You can also use that e-mail address to look him up on facebook.