Tyronn Lue on Cavaliers trading Kevin Love: ‘He’s not going anywhere’

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There are two concurrent storylines running about a Kevin LoveCarmelo Anthony trade:

  1. Do the Cavaliers want to make that deal?
  2. Is LeBron James pushing the Cavaliers to make that deal?

LeBron shot back emphatically when asked about a report claiming the answer to the second question was yes.

As for the first question, Cleveland has sent sent every signal it won’t trade Love for Anthony.

Now — after Love had 39 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals in a win over the Wizards — Cavs coach Tyronn Lue is going a step further: Stating on the record that Love won’t be traded at all.

Lue and Love, via Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

“We’re going to trade him tonight,” coach Tyronn Lue joked after the game. “Kevin should be happy that teams want him. But he’s not going anywhere.”

Love called the report a lie and cited a quote he heard while watching the HBO show “The Crown.”

“That is a lie. What do they say? A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put his pants on, Love said. “It’s just not true. It’s almost laughable.”

 

Lue might believe that. He might have heard it from general manager David Griffin.

But I’d prefer to hear that declaration directly from someone empowered to make trades — or at least hear Lue say he’s echoing Griffin.

Coaches and management often disagree on roster construction, but the front office holds the final say. Sometimes, coaches, who meet far more frequently with the media, paint narratives on team-building that don’t match what the general manager is doing behind the scenes.

To best coach Love, Lue needs the forward comfortable and focused. That’s hard to achieve if Love is worried about a trade. So, it behooves Lue to make this declaration. Then, in the unlikely event Cleveland deals Love and invalidates Lue’s decree, Love’s dissatisfaction would immediately become another team’s problem.

Likewise, Love isn’t positioned to declare himself untradeable — no matter how often he repeats his new favorite commonly misattributed quote. If Griffin assured Love that Love wouldn’t be dealt, I’d like to hear that. But it coming from Love with no more context is insufficient. And, even if Griffin told him that, there’s still the possibility of the Cavs prioritizing keeping Love happy rather than being truthful.

This is a step in that direction, but there’s only one way the Cavaliers to shut down every rumor about them trading Love this season: Keep him past the trade deadline.