Carmelo Anthony’s future with the New York Knicks is uncertain but close friend LeBron James would reportedly welcome the nine-time All-Star to Cleveland with open arms.
While the Cavaliers reportedly rejected a trade to acquire Anthony in exchange for Kevin Love last month, James continues to push the team to acquire his close friend, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. James is reportedly okay with Cleveland trading for Anthony even if it means shipping forward Kevin Love to New York.
The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks at Madison Square Garden last Saturday, 111-104, in a game where the Knicks cut a 27-point deficit to five. However, James (32 points, 10 rebounds) partnered with Love (23 points, 16 rebounds) to produce key double-doubles in the win. Before making the trip east, James addressed the rumors.
“I just want the best for my friend, no matter what it is,” James said to reporters last week. “If [Anthony’s] there in New York or if not, I just want the best for him. I want him to be happy.”
“The game comes very easy to you when you’re happy where you are. If he’s happy in New York, maybe he wants to be elsewhere. I’m not sure. He’s done a lot for that franchise. He did a lot for the Denver franchise as well. We’ll see what happens.”
However, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio cited a Cavaliers source on Twitter, stating that James pushing Cleveland to acquire Anthony at any cost is “not true.” Following Monday’s 140-135 comeback win over the Washington Wizards in overtime, James blasted Isola and his report.
“It’s trash, and the guy who wrote it is trash, too… for writing that…especially during the game like that,” James said. “It’s always about outside noise and that’s just outside noise to us.”
After Monday’s 121-107 loss to Los Angeles Lakers, the Knicks’ record dropped to 22-31, 2.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Anthony and his Knicks teammates — despite stating numerous times that the goal is to make a playoff push — admitted there’s still a lack of trust on the court. Head coach Jeff Hornacek was visibly angry during his post-game press conference, challenging his team to play with “pride.”
It’s a situation many aging superstars look to escape; however, Anthony has been transparent about wanting to win in New York. Speaking to reporters shortly after the Cavaliers rejected a proposed Anthony-for-Love swap last month, the Knicks superstar addressed the speculation.
“I really don’t have a reaction to it,” Anthony said, according to ESPN.
“I mean, until management comes to me and says something, it’s not something I can look forward to or feed into at this point.”
However, Anthony has maintained that if the Knicks decide to rebuild, he would consider waiving his no-trade clause. In 51 games this season, Anthony is averaging 22.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He was not voted onto the All-Star team for the first time in seven seasons.
“If they want to go in a different direction, that’s something I have to consider,” Anthony said via the New York Daily News.
“I think I would have to consider that. All the talk that’s going on, that’s out of my control. Nobody contacted me, nobody contacted my representation or anything like that. So it’s something that I’m not worried about.”
Factoring in Anthony’s age, remaining contract (tw0 years, $53 million), and a 15 percent trade kicker, the Knicks will have a hard time dealing him and receiving equal value in return. The Knicks have a strong core with youngsters Kristaps Porzingis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and Willy Hernangomez. However, offseason acquisition Joakim Noah has struggled mightily in the first year of a four-year, $72 million pact and Derrick Rose is in his contract year.
As the February 23 trade deadline nears, Anthony along with most of the Knicks is a trade target. Cavaliers head coach Tyrron Lue said Love should be happy teams want him but “he’s not going anywhere.” As for Love, Monday’s report was just a lie.
“It’s a lie. What do they say? A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put his pants on,” Love said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]