It wouldn't be All-Star weekend without a crazy blockbuster deal that's already fallen apart. The New York Daily News dropped a doozy on Friday night, reporting that the Cavaliers had approached the New York Knicks about their potential involvement in a thee-way deal that would send Kevin Love to Boston, picks and young players to New York... and Carmelo Anthony to the Cavaliers to join his good friend LeBron James. From the NYDN:
Carmelo Anthony remains committed to the Knicks for now, even if it means passing on the opportunity to join his long-time friend LeBron James in Cleveland.
The Daily News has learned that the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered around Kevin Love. There were very preliminary discussions with the Knicks about expanding the deal to include Anthony, who would have to waive his no trade clause in order to facilitate a deal to the Cavs.
The Knicks would receive draft picks and players in return. One of those players is believed to be Timofey Mozgov, who five years ago was traded by the Knicks to Denver in the Anthony deal.
Those talks have not progressed. Plus Anthony reiterated on Friday that he has no plans to seek a trade.
"Those talks have not progressed" is code for "this isn't going to happen." There are a lot of indications this was never a serious proposal. The important thing here is not the potential for an actual deal like this, but what is signifies. Consider this in a follow-up from the Boston Globe:
This is miles and lightyears away from being an actually plausible deal. It may be being leaked to serve some alternative purpose and might not even be tangentially grounded in reality. However, there are some interesting things to take away.
First off, the question of whether Kevin Love is available in trade talks seems murky. Love has never fit in well with Kyrie Irving (he's actually fine with LeBron James, the two play well together... just when Irving's on the floor), but after all the turmoil of January, David Griffin did publicly assert that there were "no plans" to trade Love. Still the Cavs have continued to struggle since Tyronn Lue took over and if you're going to shake up the dynamic, Love is the most obvious target to do so, and we'll give the Cavaliers the most in return. But to capitulate on the plan would take a drastic reimagining of the team's core, when they sit on top of the Eastern Conference with a near-lock chance at a second-straight Finals, seems crazy.
Then again, so would a team firing their coach in that situation.
Any potential star that could be traded is going to attract Boston, which has all of the assets a team could look for. However, Boston drives a hard bargain and never overpays for a deal. That makes for a lot of rumors, but rarely makes a deal.
For the Knicks, it's pretty simple. Melo hasn't made sense with the direction of this team since the summer of 2014 when he re-signed on a max deal. He has a no trade clause.
However, consider his comments at All-Star availability Friday, from Ken Berger's column on his displeasure with the situation.
"That doesn't sit well with me," Anthony said (of the idea of missing the playoffs again). "To even reflect even a little bit on that and think about that, it's tough. That doesn't sit well with me – to know that it can be three years if we don't pick it up right away. I try not to think about that right now, but you have to start thinking about that."
Now, you have three All-Stars with multiple years left on their contracts on teams that aren't winning anything anytime soon. It's enough to make a frustrated star wonder when it's time to start contemplating his future.
"Not yet, not yet, not yet," Anthony said, and it's no exaggeration -- he said it three times. "I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll have that conversation with myself and my family and my team, but that's not the conversation right now."
Right now, the conversation is a pretty miserable one to even think about.
So Anthony's not ready to move on. However, there's clearly some dissatisfaction there, which at least puts him in play.
In the broader sense, if Love and/or Melo come into play as a serious trade target, that could actually serve to dampen the trade deadline action. Often times teams get locked in on large deals for a major star, and because they often need other teams involved to make the pieces fit, the other teams wind up waiting on those deals.
Overall this is a big-name trade rumor that's unlikely to make major waves or gain traction. It's fun to think about, Melo would fit better with the Cavs than Love, Love would give Boston one of the stars it has been looking for, and the Knicks would get younger assets, lowering expectations and making them more fun. But the realities of the situation are complex and teams involving so many factors are very difficult to pull off.
In other words, don't hold your breath.