The NBA trade deadline journalism racket is a tricky minefield to navigate. The business is driven by rumors, many of which are founded in truth, others of which are utterly fictitious.

Distinguishing between the two differentiates the good basketball Web sites from the bad sites.

But figuring out who is available is not rocket science if you speak to the right people, and I speak to a lot of plugged-in people on a regular basis.

Here is the latest they are telling me: The San Antonio Spurs are the front-runners to land Al Jefferson in a trade with the Utah Jazz – and they are frontrunners like Secretariat was in the 1973 Belmont Stakes.

Here’s why, followed by a how.

“Those teams are practically incestuous, they are on such good terms internally,” one NBA source told me Wednesday.

Indeed, Spurs assistant general manager Scott Layden left Utah prior to this season after spending several seasons as an assistant coach for the Jazz and joined R.C. Buford’s staff in San Antonio’s secrecy vault front office. Also, former Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey is now doing the legwork for Utah’s grand pooh-bah, Kevin O’Connor.