The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘It’s trash’: LeBron James slams report he’s pushing for Carmelo-Kevin Love trade

LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love celebrate during their win over the Wizards. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

Kevin Love picked an interesting time to have one of his best games of the season, given Monday evening’s report that LeBron James is more than willing to see him traded off the Cavaliers if it means bringing Carmelo Anthony in return. After Cleveland’s 140-135 overtime win over the Wizards, in which Love had 39 points and 12 rebounds, James dismissed that report as “trash.”

LeBron James did LeBron James things in Cavs’ overtime win against the Wizards

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News cited a league source in writing that “LeBron is the one pushing the Cleveland Cavaliers front office to acquire Carmelo,” even at the possible expense of Love. Isola added that “Cavs management is opposed” to the move, and that whether “LeBron has enough influence over the Cavs front office and owner Dan Gilbert to force a trade is unclear.”

Almost exactly a year ago, James described as “false” a report by Isola that the Cavs were in discussions to receive Anthony in a three-team trade that would have sent Love to the Celtics. At the time, Love was in his second season with the Cavs and was still struggling to mesh with James and others, but he went on to help Cleveland beat the Warriors for the NBA title, and this season has been his best with the team.

“It’s trash. And the guy who wrote it is trash, too, for writing that, especially during the game like that,” James said Monday, referring to the fact that Isola’s story was published shortly after the Cavs had tipped off against the Wizards. “It’s always about outside noise and that’s just outside noise for us. We gotta focus on what needs to be done and that’s to continue to compete for a championship. And we got who we got. Our GM will do a great job of figuring out if we need something else, but right now we’re in a good place.”

James appeared to call out his team’s front office in late January, saying amid a losing stretch, “We need a f—ing playmaker.” Meanwhile, numerous reports have indicated that Knicks president Phil Jackson wants to rid his plummeting team of Anthony, but the forward has a no-trade clause in his contract. Anthony and James, though, are close friends, lending some credence to rumors of them wanting to team up.

An overjoyed J.R. Smith holds prematurely born baby daughter for first time

“He’s not going anywhere,” Cavs Coach Tyronn Lue said of Love after Monday’s game, and the forward himself disputed the report. Love offered the adage, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on,” and posted that to social media (attributing it to Winston Churchill, based on the TV show, “The Crown,” although Mark Twain is often credited with the line).

In January, ESPN reported that the Cavs turned down a Love-Anthony swap, which was followed by The Vertical claiming that the Knicks had also looked into sending the nine-time all-star to the Clippers or Celtics. “All the talk that’s going on, that’s out of my control,” Anthony said at the time. “Nobody contacted me, nobody contacted my representation or anything like that. So it’s something that I’m not worried about.”

“I’m on this team,” Love said Monday. “I’m going to be on this team and we want to win with the guys that we have.”