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Report: Jozy Altidore heading to Toronto FC, Jermain Defoe to Sunderland; New York Red Bulls might still be in it...

The Altidore rumor is dead...and also alive. MLS transfer rumors are now entering the territory traditionally occupied by quantum physics.

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

According to...everyone...Jozy Altidore has struck a deal with MLS, and it is not with the New York Red Bulls.

The former RBNY man has reportedly been traded to Toronto FC by his current club, the English Premier League's Sunderland.

ESPN FC reports a deal that sees Altidore + cash head to TFC in exchange for Jermain Defoe.

Huh? TFC is getting money as well as Altidore for a guy whose massive salary was allegedly the sticking point in negotiations? Sunderland is paying for the right to pay Defoe?

Sports Illustrated is reporting the same.

Both reports cite a TSN report, which also suggests Defoe will be paid more by his new club than he was by his previous employer. So maybe the wages issue wasn't such a bloody big deal.

Per TSN, there is news of interest to New York Red Bulls fans.

The deal would appear to signal the end of RBNY's interest in Altidore: he's been picked up by TFC; end of story. But TSN claims MLS has an interest in landing the player at a US club (he is a USMNT star, after all) and at the Red Bulls in particular.

The gist of TSN's report is that the deal doesn't necessarily end with the trade between TFC and Sunderland. That moves Defoe off Toronto's books, but Altidore will land in MLS - and be subject to the allocation order, an oft-neglected mechanism the league might be in a mood to revive.

And if MLS is minded to enforce that allocation order, and there are clubs willing to make trades to move up to claim Altidore: he will be claimed by whichever team is highest in the ranking at the end of the trading.

TSN suggests that team might be RBNY. IF the league wants to facilitate an Altidore move to New York, then it would make sense to use the allocation order, since it is at least a more transparent mechanism for explaining why a particular player landed at a particular club than a blind draw.

The problem is RBNY is said to be 12th in the allocation order; Toronto is thought to be sixth. To claim a spot above TFC, the Red Bulls would - we think - need to make a trade with one of the top five teams (Montreal, San Jose, Colorado, Chicago, and Houston). And RBNY would also need to hope TFC isn't minded to try to trade its way further up the order, thereby sparking a bidding war for Altidore's services - ironically, exactly why MLS allegedly has an allocation order in the first place: to stop clubs competing with each other over signing a player.

The short of it: Altidore is reportedly in MLS, reportedly because Toronto made a trade with Sunderland, but that doesn't necessarily mean RBNY is out of it.

This trade may not be over until...well, maybe until Toronto completes the trade for Juventus's Sebastian Giovinco it is said to be close to sealing. Giovinco and Altidore would be another bloody big deal. And possibly one a little too big for MLS to refrain from tinkering with further. To RBNY's benefit, perhaps.

We await further details...