Kevin Love's Last Game in Cleveland? A Trade for Carmelo Anthony May Make Sense

By Jason McIntyre

Remember earlier this season when LeBron said he wanted to help his friends Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony get a Championship? Neither has sniffed the NBA Finals in their careers – Melo got to the WCF in Denver, but that’s it – and both might only have a year or two left in the prime of their career.

As we prepare for Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight, it’s become fairly clear that if the Cavs are to beat the Warriors in a series while LeBron James is still among the NBA’s best players, he’s going to need scoring help. Would Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks – a one-dimensional player with a no trade clause and a Hollywood-lovin’ wife who probably wouldn’t move to Cleveland – for Love make sense as a trade?

Kevin Love can provide scoring and rebounding during the season and in the playoffs against the mediocre East, but the $120 million man doesn’t look like he fits against the West. The sample size is small, but he’s getting beat on the glass and he’s a step or two slow against the pick-and-roll. Can you imagine how badly he’d be getting destroyed by Steven Adams of the Thunder? Or LaMarcus Aldridge of the Spurs?

Love returned from his concussion in Game 5 and scored 11 points in 25 minutes, but was largely worthless in the 4th quarter at both ends, and was subbed out mid-way through for 35-year old Richard Jefferson as the Warriors pulled away.

Might tonight be Love’s last game in a Cleveland uniform? There will be plenty of Houston and Boston chatter, but think about the Knicks for a moment. Trading Love (28 in September) for a depreciating asset like Anthony (32) may not make sense from an analytics standpoint, but what if part of the reason Love has struggled is that culturally, he’s just not a good fit in Cleveland? I mean, think about it for a second, would Melo have said anything close to this about LeBron after Game 5?

The NY Daily News also speculated about a possible Anthony-for-Love trade, but the jumping off point I disagree with:

"Love is the most likely target and Tyronn Lue’s decision to bring Love off the bench in Game 4 may be the first step toward relocating the two-time All Star."

Lue had to bring Love off the bench. I think he’s got to do it again in Oakland tonight. The more eye-opening decision was having Love on the bench in crunch time in Game 4.