It’s that time of the year, when trade rumors spread like wildfire and it’s practically impossible to tell what’s real and what’s nonsense until the deal is completely finalized. Once upon a time, head coach George Karl used this chaos for his own amusement, having a contest with other coaching buddies to see who could get a fake trade rumor into a newspaper first. Per The Plain Dealer: “It’s that time of year in the NBA, just 11 days before the Feb. 21 trade deadline when an innocent question might develop into something further, and players everywhere are a little more on edge. Each game might be a player’s last for a team, and there’s no way to know who’s available. … Karl, for one, said he is careful to assure his players at this time of year that there’s not much they can do, either way, so there’s no point in fretting. ‘There’s this solid anxiety to this period of time for players,’ Karl said. ‘So, how I can calm that and make them feel like, ‘Yeah, a trade could happen, but it’s a small, small percentage.” Karl said he tries to avoid media in the days before the trade deadline because ‘we tell fibs and lies.’ However, he has helped to fan the flame. 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. Karl said he’s no longer in the business of pulling pranks, and had no trades in the works that he wanted to share. He swears he hasn’t spread any trade rumors in ’7-8 years,’ he said.”