Woj clumsily scooped the Ime Udoka story, allowing Shams to clean up the mess

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The cloak-and-dagger reports surrounding Celtics’ coach Ime Udoka have not been journalism’s finest moments.

The cloak-and-dagger reports surrounding Celtics’ coach Ime Udoka have not been journalism’s finest moments.
Image: Getty Images

Around 10:30 p.m. EST, Wednesday night, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski dropped his first Woj Bomb of the new season. It was a dud upon impact. His vague tweet referencing Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s impending suspension — for an unnamed code of conduct violation — was a cacophony of noise from a reporter who was half-awake and over eager to break something, anything. He even followed up with a tweet explaining exactly who Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is. Minutes later, he appeared on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt to stretch his breaking non-news into a segment.

Woj even slapped his face on that sucker like some Insta-model watermarking her photos to prevent catfish accounts from sprouting up using her images. It was gauche and beneath a Scoopmaster of Woj’s prestige. A few hours later, Woj added that Udoka’s job was not in jeopardy, which gave the impression that Udoka’s suspension would be a minor speed bump in the Celtics season. Then, a little before 1 a.m, Charania swooped in from the rafters with a tweet that cleaned up after Woj’s desperation heave.

And with that, the 2023 Scoopmaster MVP race was off to a fast start. In a span of minutes, the conversation around Udoka shifted from how short his suspension would be to whether or not he’d be canned for an H.R. violation. Woj and Shams have kicked off the NBA season, for better and for worse.

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It’s hard to fathom how clumsily this is going to be discussed in barbershops and Twitter all weekend.

For Woj and Shams, this is the beginning of their season-long race to be first. If free agency was their NBA Finals, Udoka is their opening salvo of the 2022-23 season. Unfortunately, Woj shot out of the gates as if the game had passed him by. Meanwhile, Shams’ earth-shattering tweet destabilized the NBA and shook up the scoop king leaderboard. The irony of his late night tweet is that Shams may not have been aware of an incident involving Udoka if Woj hadn’t tipped him off.

Charania, 28, once told the New York Post in a profile that he spends approximately 17-18 hours per day staring at his screen. What’s life like for Woj? At 53, he’s relentlessly chasing news at a time of night when he should be spending time with his wife and kids before the season is in full-swing.This is a young man’s game.

Shams is hitting his prime. Woj’s slow start is the continuance of a trend that began at the trade deadline when he got worked by Charania on trade after trade.

To Woj’s credit, he beat Shams to the Donovan Mitchell trade, but we’re already seeing him lose his lateral quickness when pivoting from spilling trades to breaking news of consequence. At this point in his career, Woj might need to embrace load management on First Take, cryptically Windhorsting and alluding to breaking news he doesn’t quite have the details on.

The last big Celtics news Woj broke was breaking the news about Robert Williams’ arthroscopic knee surgery two days ago. Woj doesn’t need to spend his reporting prime chasing nothingburgers in an attempt to stay at his apex. He needs to pick his spots.

Information brokering is already an empty business, but his tweets of late have been more vacuous than usual. In the last week, Woj Bombs have been flash grenades. He reported that the union and NBA had agreed on lowering the draft eligibility rule to 18 in the next collective bargaining agreement.

This may be the season Woj morphs into late career superstar mode, tossing up bricks and just cruising off his bloated contract and legacy. There’s still time left in the season for Woj to pick himself off the mat, but Wednesday was an ugly debut. 

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