I'm always a little hesitant when I read a story citing unnamed third parties talking about the intentions of somebody else.
So when a story broke earlier today that Sixers forward Thaddeus Young had submitted a formal request to be traded, it came as little surprise that Young later denied it.
"I just think it's funny how it's sources that say I asked to be traded," Young told reporters at a Sixers shoot-around. "At the end of the day, like I said, I'm here 110 percent each and every game."
But if Young were to ask Sixers president/general manager Sam Hinkie to trade him, all I could ask is "could you blame him?"
Let's be honest, unless your prized rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel or any number of the D-League quality players Hinkie is paying NBA salaries to perpetuate the fraud he is trying to pass off as a NBA team, why would any player want to be a part of this?
At this point, I would think that veterans Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes are also hoping they'll get traded so that they don't have to spend the remaining months of their expiring contracts wallowing in the slop that Hinkie is putting out on the floor.
Being foundations of a massive rebuilding project like Carter-Williams and Noel is one thing. You might not like losing, but you can accept it because of the knowledge that better times are hopefully down the road.
But if you're a veteran player like Young, Turner and Hawes, and you really have no idea whether or not you are part of some future plan, and then going through the embarrassment that the Sixers experience each time they step on the court is just a wasted season in what is always a limited career.
Players want to win or at the least, they want a legitimate opportunity to compete.
Hinkie, in his bid to do anything possible to garner a high pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, has made that impossible.
I understand the motivation of Hinkie and Sixers management. Getting the right players out of what is anticipated to be a loaded 2014 Draft could completely alter the fate of a Sixers franchise that has been stuck in mediocrity for more than a decade.
I'm not even disagreeing with the idea that getting bad to ultimately get good through high draft picks is the best way to build because of the way the NBA is structured.
But each time I watch the Sixers stumble through another double-digit loss, I can't go with the Hinkie storyline that this is rebuilding.
"Together We Build," nah this is "Together We Tank."
Being bad is one thing, but what Hinkie has put together is an abomination to anyone who has any sense of honor about the inherent competitive nature of sports.
I've been told by the Sixers that a request made to interview Hinkie is under review along with requests from other reporters.
I understand that Sixers hope the big prize will come in the 2014 Draft, but this still could have a been a year of teaching, a year where some of the other parts that will be alongside Carter-Williams, Noel and whoever comes in 2014 could be developed.
Sixers coach Brett Brown came in with the right idea that this season was going to be about teaching. But how can any coach, much less a rookie one, properly teach when the majority of his students are in a class way above their level?
There is no legitimate way to evaluate what Brown is doing because at least half of the roster Hinkie has given him to work with could just as easily be down with the Delaware 87ers in the NBA Developmental League.
The funny thing is that 87ers point guard Kendall Marshall, the 13th selection overall in the 2012 draft, was just signed by the Los Angeles Lakers after he averaged 19.4 points, 9.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds in seven games with the D-League Squad affiliated with the Sixers.
With the exception of Carter-Williams, Noel and maybe Tony Wroten, Marshall was a better prospect than any young player the Sixers have on their current roster.
But thus far, Hinkie hasn't shown any interest in doing anything to improve the 2013-14 Sixers. It seems that no number of wins – 20, 17, 9 or 7 – will be too low, as long as it guarantees the Sixers a Top 5 pick in 2014.
That's fine if you're Hinkie and ownership has your back as you sit back and fiddle while the product you put out there burns to a crisp.
Management can afford to sit through this in hopes that in the 2014 Draft a Phoenix will rise from the ashes in the form of Andrew Wiggins, Jabbari Parker, Joel Embiid, Marcus Smart, Dante Exum or Julius Randle.
If they get one of those potential franchise players to go with Carter-Williams and Noel, they'll have something legitimate to try to resell this diminished fan base next season.
But if you're seven-year veteran like Young, who is a consummate veteran, and you're working your tail off every day in practice and in games to make the current situation better, the current season is the only one that matters.
And you have to be getting tired of swimming upstream against the raging torrent of obstacles management has intentionally put in front of you.
How do you keep putting out a winning effort for a franchise that you know doesn't' want to win?
You don't and eventually, you ask out.