Kevin Love Trade Rumors Debunked By LeBron James

Feb 8, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) rebounds in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 8, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) rebounds in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kevin Love trade rumors have been flying this week, particularly after a report Friday in the New York Daily News, but Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James says the report is ‘false.’

There have been Kevin Love trade rumors rumbling around the NBA circuit since before the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt last month, but that train picked up some steam on Friday when Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that a blockbuster trade that would land Love in Boston and bring Carmelo Anthony to the Cavaliers could still be in the works.

The Knicks would receive players and draft picks in the reported deal and Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause in order for it to happen.

One of the players reportedly in the deal is embattled Cavs center Timofey Mozgov, whose stock has fallen faster than Rand Paul’s presidential bid.

But James told CNN’s Rachel Nichols the reports weren’t true:

Related Story: 25 Best Players to Play for the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers dodged a scare with Love last week, when his surgically repaired left shoulder—the one that was dislocated in a tussle for a rebound with Kelly Olynyk of the Celtics in the first round of last season’s playoffs—forced him out of Cleveland’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesda.

But he is expected to be back when the Cavs resume play after the All-Star break after being diagnosed with a contusion, or as you and I call it … a bruise.

They open the second half against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Love’s numbers have plummeted since he was acquired in August 2014 from the Minnesota Timberwolves, but that was somewhat to be expected since he was going from being the first—and perhaps only—option to sharing the load with James and former All-Star MVP Kyrie Irving.

But the struggle has been real for Love in 2015-16, as he is shooting a career-worst 41.7 percent from the floor (save for his injury-truncated 2012-13 campaign) even as his 3-point shooting has remained almost constant from last season at 36.8 percent.

Love’s shooting has fallen off dramatically inside the arc almost everywhere—at the rim (61.1 percent a season ago, 52.8 percent this season) and in the mid-range (31.9 percent from 10 to 16 feet and 38.5 percent from 16 feet out to the 3-point line this season; last year those figures were 40.8 percent and 46.8 percent, respectively).

He’s also taking a career-high 44.4 percent of his attempts from 3-point range.

More from Cleveland Cavaliers

In the 10 games in which he’s played since Tyronn Lue took over the big clipboard, Love is averaging 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a steal in 31.2 minutes per game while shooting .430/.371/.793.

Small sample size, to be sure, but those numbers are not appreciably different from the 15.7 points, 11 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.9 steals he was putting up on .413/.367/.802 shooting in 32.3 minutes per game under Blatt.

For all the talk that Love is more involved under Lue, his rebounding numbers in particular beg to differ.

It’s no secret the Celtics would love to get a star player—Isaiah Thomas is the team’s first All-Star since the Big Four of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo broke up, but most championship contenders don’t have a 5-foot-8 point guard as their centerpiece.

As for Boston’s interest in the Melo-Love, three-team blockbuster, the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reported Friday that the Celtics have the assets available to draw Phil Jackson’s interest in New York.

Danny Ainge has assembled a collection of draft picks in Boston, including potentially holding four first-round picks in this June’s draft—their own, the Brooklyn Nets’ selection, the Dallas Mavericks’  pick unless it’s in the top seven (unlikely) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ choice unless it’s in the top 12 (extremely likely, in which case it turns into a second-rounder in each of the next two drafts).

As for Anthony’s reported intrigue at playing with a star of the caliber of James?

"“I think everybody kind of dreams and hopes that they can play with another great player, another star player,” Anthony told the Daily News. “It’s a star player’s league. I think that’s what we talk about when we all get together—‘I want to play with you, I want to play with you.’“Even here different guys say, ‘Come play with me, come play with me.’ So that’s always the mindset. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it don’t. But I think everybody that’s in my situation, that’s in my position, they all want the load off, especially the older they get. Because you realize you just can’t do it all by yourself. Everybody knows that.”"

Having said all that, Anthony said he’s not at the point to go to Jackson and ask to be moved … at least not yet.

"“I’m pretty sure I’ll have that conversation with myself and my family and my team,” Anthony said. “But it’s not a conversation for right now.”"

Love has never made any noises about wanting out of Cleveland, but it’s worth noting that his new boss, Lue, had some pointed criticism aimed at Love and Irving last month, shortly after he took the head coaching reins.

Lue was speaking to reporters about his time as an assistant coach in Boston under Doc Rivers, when the Celtics had Garnett, Pierce and Allen.

"“It was late in their careers, so they had to win a championship now,” Lue said, via “With our young stars, with Kyrie and Kevin, they’re young, so it’s still about their brand and different things, it’s just way different.“I talked to our team about, ‘If you win, everybody’s brand is better.’ If you win as a unit, everybody gets credit for it. Just trying to keep instilling that in our guys because, you know, we still have a young group of guys. Just gotta keep instilling that message. If we win, everybody’s taken care of, so that’s the message.”"

As for the superstars involved in the trade, Anthony is in the second year of a five-year contract worth a little more than $124 million that includes a no-trade clause and an early termination option after 2017-18.

More hoops habit: 25 Worst Individual Seasons In NBA History

Love signed a multi-year deal with the Cavaliers last July that is for five years and $113 million and includes no trade protections or early-out language.