Report: LeBron James pushing Cavaliers to trade for Carmelo Anthony, even if they must send Kevin Love to Knicks

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Asked about Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, LeBron James said, “We can’t play fantasy basketball.”

Or can they?

The Cavaliers have distanced themselves from Anthony trade rumors at every turn — especially when it involves sending Kevin Love to the Knicks. But apparently Cleveland general manager forward LeBron James wants the Cavs to take another look.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

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.

Anthony might actually help the Cavs more than Love this year.

Cleveland’s goal is nothing less than a championship, and that likely means going through Golden State. With one notable exception, Love has matched up poorly with the Warriors. They’re just too quick for him.

Anthony would give the Cavaliers a more mobile versatile power forward — whether it’s Anthony himself or LeBron. Both have resisted the position, but they’d like adjust to play together (something they’ve long dreamed of).

Still, there’d be complications integrating Anthony’s score-first game with LeBron and Kyrie Irving. Love has grown far more accustomed at doing the little things like rebounding. It’s not entirely clear whether swapping Love for Anthony would help Cleveland this year.

The biggest factor here: Love is 28, and Anthony is 32. Though LeBron is getting antsy, his title-contending window probably isn’t slamming shut just yet. Love is likely to outperform Anthony over the next several years. It’s not worth sacrificing that for only a chance of an upgrade this season.

That said, Love being more valuable than Anthony could result in the Knicks sending another asset to the Cavs in addition to Anthony (like a draft pick that Cleveland flips elsewhere). It’s possible there’s a fair deal to be found.

I don’t envy Cavaliers general manager David Griffin, who must build the best team possible and appease LeBron — even when those goals contradict each other.