The demands of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James for his front office to boost the roster with an additional playmaker have coincided with the New York Knicks growing desire to trade their longtime star Carmelo Anthony in a way that feels like fate.
Anthony, a longtime friend of James, has a no-trade clause that he is reportedly only willing to waive for the Cavs or the Los Angeles Clippers. He is also the exact type of “playmaker” that could satisfy James’ request. The problem so far: the Knicks are only willing to work with Cleveland if they are getting Cavs star Kevin Love in return, and the team has been uninterested.
Now, a report from Frank Isola of the New York Daily News indicates that things may change on that front. Cleveland’s franchise player is reportedly pushing his front office to make a deal for the Knicks forward regardless of the cost.
“According to a league source, LeBron is the one pushing the Cleveland Cavaliers front office to acquire Carmelo even if it means trading Kevin Love, which is something Cavs management is opposed to doing. Jackson is hoping to move Anthony prior to the Feb. 23 trading deadline and one player the Knicks have targeted is Love, who had 23 points with 16 rebounds in Cleveland’s win over the Knicks last Saturday.
“Any deal for Anthony would require the Knicks’ leading scorer to waive his no-trade clause and the consensus is that Anthony would agree to play for the defending champs and his long-time friend LeBron.”
The deal makes an incredible amount of sense for the Knicks, who have no other interesting offers for Anthony on the table. But the deal for Cleveland would be a bit more confusing if Love is indeed involved, especially when you compare the two forward’s stats.
Love is having a great season, averaging 19.9 points, 1.9 assists and 11.1 rebounds per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep. On the other hand, Anthony is averaging similar offensive numbers, 22.9 points and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 36 percent from behind-the-arc. The only large area of variation between the two is the rebounding, where Anthony is only putting up 6.9 per game.
According to Isola, it’s unclear whether the Cavs management is wavering at all due to the pressure from their reigning NBA Finals MVP. If the Cavs refuse to move Love, their other path to a trade would involve trading multiple role players in order to take on Anthony’s contract, which reportedly does not interest the Knicks.