But Ric Bucher ... he's not a paragon of credibility.
Bucher is funny, and focuses on the West Coast. (Finally!) But he has had some rather dubious rumors over the years -- including being absolutely positive Kobe Bryant would force a trade two years ago. (Instead, the Lakers went to the Finals.) Bucher is generally considered to be L.A.'s Stephen A. Smith, without the bombastic voice: if a star player or GM (usually a Laker) wants a story out there, go to Bucher. He'll handle it for you, facts be damned.
Maybe that's not fair, but it's the perception. On the other hand, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (formerly of the Akron Beacon Journal) has a stellar record and reputation. The anecdote that he broke news of the Mo Williams trade on the drive home from a hospital he spent 55 days in will follow him forever. Windhorst has broken or reported in greatest depth basically ever single story about LeBron James -- his contract, his endorsements, his representation ... everything. He also whipped ass on the Anderson Varejao hold-out story, the Zydrunas Ilgauskas FIBA story, and all the trades and signings Danny Ferry has made. His resumé is impeccable.
On the Bill Simmons podcast, Bucher poked at Windhorst for reporting the Joe Smith rumor too early (transcript by Cursed Cleveland):
"The Plain Dealer came out and said very early on that Joe Smith was going to the Cavs, but I know as early as yesterday that there was a chance it could have come apart and he could have been headed to the Lakers ... it got a little contentious ... at the end of the day does the Plain Dealer look wrong ... ? No, because he ended up there, but were they completely on the beam ... maybe not?"A highly respected beat writer jumps on a rumor and gets it right. A well-meaning but frequently questioned national columnist/talking head hears from a team he is close to, a team that would stand to benefit from the aforementioned rumor falling apart, that said team is interested in bringing the player in. This does not happen, and the initial rumor is consummated without a hitch. The well-meaning but frequently questioned national columnist/talking head takes the highly respected beat writer to task because, according to his sources, it could have fallen apart. This is the height of lunacy. No kettle in the history of Western Civilization has ever been attacked in such an egregious manner.*
Be careful of all that falling glass, Ric.
* Miss you, Bill.
(Huge hat tip to Cursed Cleveland for all of this.)