With all the NBA trade rumors popping up about New York Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony and previous speculation about Kevin Love being on the way out from Cleveland, there’s recent news of a potential deal that fell through. So how close were the two teams to actually pulling off this blockbuster trade that would have made another “Big Three” with LeBron James and the Cavs?
A recent ESPN report indicates that the New York Knicks started shopping Carmelo Anthony to perspective teams in the league, but one powerhouse team said no to the deal offered. That team was the defending NBA champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who could have added another major star to help contend with Golden State in the NBA Finals. It’s no surprise that Melo and LeBron James have been pals, so it seems LeBron might want his good friend joining forces with him in Cleveland for multiple runs at the NBA championship.
Apparently, the Knicks wanted Kevin Love in return for Carmelo. It sounds like it should be a done deal as soon as it’s offered, right? That wasn’t the case, as apparently, the Cavs had no interest in dealing Kevin Love away. The reason behind Cleveland’s unwillingness to pull the trigger was due to the Cavs wanting to acquire a playmaker rather than another scorer on their roster.
The report from ESPN also indicates that sources said if Cleveland was interested in this deal, then the Knicks management would have talked to Anthony about waiving his no-trade clause. It’s also mentioned that in addition to Melo, only the Cavs’ LeBron James and the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki have full no-trade clauses in their contracts.
While adding another scorer to the Golden State Warriors with Kevin Durant certainly hasn’t hurt their team, it might hurt a team like the Cavaliers, who have a different system in place. There had been complaints in the past about the “Big Three” in Cleveland, which claimed that Love was the weak link and needed to go elsewhere. This season he’s certainly putting in work.
Despite some shaky games recently, the Cavs continue to lead the Eastern Conference, and there have been plenty of analysts who have praised Kevin Love’s play this season. As of this report, Love is putting up 20.5 points a game, which is good for a tie at No. 30 in the league with Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker. The added scoring is a plus for the Cavs as LeBron and Kyrie are putting up a combined 50 points a night on average..
Love isn’t just scoring well; he’s also grabbing boards. The 6-foot-10 star is snatching 11 rebounds a game, giving him a double-double average this season. His career numbers include 18.5 points per game, and 11.5 rebounds a game. Love also adds about 1.5 assists per game and a half a block. He’s also a known three-point threat, hitting the trey at a rate of 37.6 percent this season. Fans who watched the Cavs and Spurs battle into overtime on Saturday saw the fear in San Antonio players as they realized Love got wide open for a shot that he could have easily knocked down.
On Thursday night, the NBA All-Star Game reserves will be announced, and ESPN senior writer Zach Lowe has Kevin Love among his Eastern Conference reserve predictions. In a not so surprising sidenote, Carmelo Anthony is not listed among his picks as Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers are his other choices at the forward slots. Melo is averaging 22.7 points per game, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. There’s always that outside chance of an injury to another member of the Eastern Conference giving Melo a spot.
With all that said, it appears Cleveland seems to realize the value Love offers to their team. While Carmelo is certainly a star, he could disrupt the overall scheme of things for the Cavs’ championship aspirations. The wild card is always “King” LeBron James, so if he decides he’d prefer a chance at the title with Melo on the court, then things could change. Otherwise, expect the love for Kevin Love to continue in Cleveland.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]