The week leading up to NBA free agency is peak leak season. Smoke screens blot out the sun as agents and teams duel for negotiating leverage and control of the narrative.

It's a tense time, and we need to be extra careful when parsing reports about signings and trades, let alone comments from the involved parties themselves.

Lose your sense of skepticism, and you might find yourself believing the Golden State Warriors intend to keep Jordan Poole for four years when their actual plan is to trade him within four days.

NBA reporting is a hard job, and we're not impugning the integrity of the messengers here. But we can't just accept the messages themselves as gospel—not with disinformation all over the place.

Here, we're passing judgment on the validity of the latest news as the NBA's busiest transactional period approaches.


Damian Lillard and the Blazers Are Sticking Together

Portland Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin put out a statement after meeting on Monday with Damian Lillard and his agent to discuss the team's direction. It triggered a combination of fatigue and deja vu.

Cronin's words and Portland's actions diverge to a ridiculous degree. The Blazers didn't trade the No. 3 pick for a star, held onto Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe through draft night and lack the flexibility to add a meaningful free agent. Every move Portland has made this offseason suggests it isn't looking to mortgage the future for the sake of giving Lillard a contending roster.

That's the correct move, by the way. The Blazers finished 13th in the West last year, despite a career season by Lillard. They're nowhere close to being one or two players away from vaulting into the conference's top tier. The writing has been on the wall in Portland for a while now, but nobody seems willing to act on the message.