According to LeBron James, the Cavaliers need a “playmaker.” What the team does not need, apparently, is Carmelo Anthony, especially if acquiring him would cost the services of Kevin Love.
Even if the Cavs were interested in such a trade, Anthony himself would have to agree to it, as he has a no-trade clause in his contract. However, he is very close with LeBron James and it has been widely rumored that Cleveland has one of the few situations for which he would consider leaving the Knicks.
Another team thought of in that way is the Clippers, who boast another of Anthony’s Team USA pals in Chris Paul and, as with Cleveland, are title contenders. New York, by contrast, has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and is heading in that direction again, with a 20-26 record going into Wednesday’s games that has it 11th in the Eastern Conference.
“You ask me a question if [James] thinks I’d want to play with him?’’ Anthony said Wednesday (via the New York Post). “Yes. I do think he’d want me to play with him. I don’t think he wouldn’t. But I don’t know if that comment was about me. I don’t think I’m the only playmaker in the NBA.’’
Anthony’s playmaking abilities aside — and Jackson criticized him earlier this season for not moving the ball quickly enough — the Cavs have plenty of possible reasons to prefer Love. He is younger (28, while Anthony is 32), cheaper (albeit with three more years left on his contract to Anthony’s two), a similar scorer and a better rebounder. Plus, Cleveland just won an NBA championship with Love, so they’d be risking team chemistry, even if James is not particularly happy with his squad, which leads the East but has lost five of its past seven games heading into Wednesday.
“We need a f—king playmaker,” James said Monday, adding, “We’re not better than last year from a personnel standpoint.”
LeBron on the Melo trade report: "We got 14 guys in here ... We can't play fantasy basketball, we got to go out and play"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 26, 2017
It is more understandable why Jackson would want to part with Anthony, who is clearly on the downslope of his decorated career and may be getting in the way of a process to make young star Kristaps Porzingis the centerpiece of the team. However, in a face-to-face meeting last week, the nine-time all-star told Jackson that he wants to stay in New York, and he has the leverage to make that happen.
“I don’t think about [joining James in Cleveland]” Anthony said Wednesday. “As far as playing with him, I don’t think about that. I can’t think about that. You know I’m not thinking about that.”
Regardless of how much Anthony may have thought about playing for the Cavs, that team reportedly isn’t interested, at least not at the expense of the all-star forward it already has. However, this likely won’t be the last time we hear Anthony’s name come up before the Feb. 23 trade deadline, as all signs point to Jackson wanting to move on from Melo.