Kevin Love doesn't believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will…

Kevin Love doesn’t believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will trade him. Despite weeks of rumors that the NBA champions have been in trade talks with the New York Knicks about a deal involving Carmelo Anthony for the All-Star forward, Love said Friday that he expects “to be here for a long time.” Love said he has grown accustomed to having his name in trade speculation.

More on Kevin Love Trade?

The New York Knicks continue to pursue Kevin Love in advance of the Feb. 23 trade deadline despite the Cleveland Cavaliers' unwillingness to part with the All-Star forward in a deal for Carmelo Anthony, according to league sources. Sources said the Cavaliers, meanwhile, do maintain an interest in Anthony -- which would pair him with Cleveland star and close friend LeBron James -- but only if a deal can be struck without the league's reigning champions surrendering Love.
The Knicks' thinking, sources said, is that they would have gone to Anthony to discuss waiving his no-trade clause had Cleveland shown interest in the deal. Anthony is one of only three NBA players with a full-no trade clause in his contract, alongside Cleveland's LeBron James and the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki.
The Knicks have tried -- unsuccessfully -- to engage the Cavaliers in Carmelo Anthony-for-Kevin Love trade talks in advance of the league's Feb. 23 trade deadline, ESPN.com has learned. League sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that the Knicks have approached the Cavaliers to gauge their interest in swapping All-Star forwards but were told that Cleveland is not interested in such an exchange.
Stephen A. Smith: The New York Knicks want to get rid of Carmelo Anthony. They want to get rid of him bad. They are willing to take Kevin Love, who's had back injuries, knee injuries... I mean, Lord knows whatever. Body is supposedly breaking down.
Cleveland general manager David Griffin did not want to move Love but understood if he wanted to leave, maybe for a place where he could be the sole superstar again. Griffin said as much in the trainers’ room at Quicken Loans Arena on Feb. 10, where Love was undergoing treatment for an injured shoulder while the Cavaliers played the Lakers. “I want to be a champion,” Love replied.
The slightest hint of unhappiness got rumor mills churning and opened up hope for fans of some star-deprived franchises that a former high-scoring double-double machine could be had with the right combination of draft picks and serviceable talent. “It’ll never be gone. It’s just something that you live with. We have so much hype and media, and the good and the bad surrounding this team, and it just comes with the territory,” Love said. “Trade rumors, I don’t know. We lose a couple of games … I don’t know. I’m here, man, and I plan on being here a long time.”
Love came into camp with a more sculpted physique than in the past, having spent the summer working out with Cavs training staff members in both Park City, Utah, and Los Angeles. While he was getting his body right for the season, trade rumors persisted. Did he hear them? "Trade rumors, you know, I don't know," an apoplectic Love said. "You lose a couple games ... No, I don't know how to answer that. No. I'm here, man. I plan on being here a very long time."
But Love, in Cleveland -- it works. And yet, the Internet still really wants to see Love traded. "That's just something that you live with," Love said. "We have so much hype and media and the good and the bad surrounding this team and it just comes with the territory. So, I love this team, love the coaching staff, my teammates, the organization. I mean, I don't think it will ever leave but frankly, I don't really give a s---."
Once again, there are some silly trade rumors. I've been told since the middle of last season the Cavs have no intention of trading Love. And the same is true after the title. Had the Cavs collapsed in the playoffs, certainly a trade of Love or almost anyone not named LeBron James would have been possible. But the goal for General Manager David Griffin has been to "bring back the band," as he's called it several times. Love is not going anywhere as the training camp looms late in September.
While there are no shortage of suitors who would take on Love’s contract, sources close to the Cavs say moving him is not even remotely a consideration.
As for trading Love, there is no sense that the Cavs are even listening to offers. Like Cousins, he is a name you can simply remove from the discussion.
The Cavs are happy to talk to Wade, but they don’t have a lot of options without dramatically overhauling the roster. As of now, they can only offer Wade the taxpayer’s midlevel exception worth $3.47 million. He can command more than $20 million annually from other teams in free agency. The Cavs can’t offer Wade that much without a dramatic move, such as trading Kevin Love. Not even dumping Iman Shumpert and his $9.7 million will free up the necessary cap space to pursue Wade with anything other than the taxpayer’s midlevel.
Tyronn Lue on Kevin Love's future with the Cavs: "He's going to be here. (...) He was great for us all season long. (...) Throughout the playoffs, for the first three rounds, he was big. (...) And then with all the negativity, he comes into Game 7 and has 14 rebounds, a big stop on Steph Curry at the end of the game... Kevin Love is going to be here. We want him here, he's a big part of what we're doing and what we're trying to do going forward."
But it’s not clear that they have interest in dealing at all. The Cavs’ long run to this championship certainly erases any immediate deal for Love—they’re not going to trade the guy at the draft, obviously—but that’s not much of an issue since the Cavs were never going to move Love for draft picks. The league executive speculated that if some deal gets seriously discussed, it probably won’t be until after Summer League and maybe not even until during or after the Olympics in August.
Brandon Ingram, the presumed No. 2 pick in next week’s draft is also a client of Excel, but Ainge is believed to have inquired with Schwartz about whether a trade for Love could be revisited. The Celtics hold the third, 16th and 23rd picks in the draft, as well as five second-round picks.
Two wins to go for Golden State, and perhaps two more games for Love in Cleveland. A humiliating defeat needs a scapegoat, and Love walks around these days with a wide target on his back. If changes are demanded this offseason, Love will be the asset pushed in trades needed to make them. As one league executive told The Vertical, “If they go out like this, I’m betting on a Kevin Love auction.”
Whether the Cavs should really pay Love and Thompson $36 million combined to scrounge crunch-time minutes is a question for the offseason. Boston made an offer for Love at the deadline, sources have told ESPN.com, and though the Cavs found it disatisfying, the Celtics may call again if other stars higher on their list aren't available.
The Nuggets are well-positioned to restock Cleveland with draft picks and veteran players in their prime that can thrive in the up-tempo, space-the-floor game that the Cavaliers ultimately want to make part of their DNA. The Nuggets organization probably has just two untouchable players — rookies Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic — clearing a path for it to do whatever it feels is fair in potential packages in an attempt to trade for Love.
As for his purported adoration for Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Ainge said he laughs at many of the rumors that floated over the last two weeks. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there and flat out false rumors and interest in certain players,” Ainge said. “I don’t know where the media has their sources because I believe sometimes it’s just completely made up. Kevin is a good player. There’s no question about it. He’s an All-Star. He’s a very good player on a very good team right now.”
Despite Griffin's constant dismissal, Love's named was tossed around in trade speculation. The power forward heard the chatter during the All-Star break, but never believed any of it. "I mean, the same thing was said last year," Love said of the rumors. "The fact is you guys are stuck with me. I'm here. I'm happy to be here. Want to win."
And word is the Celtics would also be unwilling to part with the Nets’ pick if the Cavaliers choose to be more interested in making Kevin Love available. The C’s have never really stopped being interested in Love after their hot pursuit in the summer of 2014 when he was with the Timberwolves, and it was reported here that if Cleveland didn’t come through with the big contract last summer, Love would have been looking at Boston as a landing spot.
But now with his large deal in place and physical questions (sources say a knee problem may be more of an issue than his back or shoulder), how much would the C’s be willing to offer? And, again, that presupposes the Cavs change their stance and look harder and what Love could bring back on the open market.
Cleveland’s growing interest in New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson bodes well in Boston’s seemingly never-ending quest to acquire Kevin Love in what's shaping up to be a potential three-team deal that would include the Boston Celtics. The particulars of the deal are still in the discussion phase, but the end result if it comes to pass would send Love to Boston, according to a league source.
MacMullan feels the Celtics and Danny Ainge will make another run at Kevin Love. She feels Love has gotten a “raw deal” in Cleveland, but ultimately she doesn’t think Love will be dealt because of where the Cavaliers are at in the standings. “I do believe that Danny is going to make another run at Kevin Love because we know that he’s coveted Love all along,” MacMullan said. “The one thing that I think is interesting about Love, everybody is down on him — well, he stretches the floor, which we know Brad Stevens likes, right? Well, he can’t defend and I don’t know how you guys feel about real plus/minus, I tend to be a fan and I am sure the Celtics have things that are much more sophisticated than what we use at ESPN for real plus/minus, but just for the heck of it, I looked it up this morning on Kevin Love. He’s 12th overall in the league. That is pretty good.
“I would be thrilled if the Celtics could bring Kevin Love here, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. If I am Cleveland, I’m the best team in the East and we all know every team — Golden State, San Antonio, they are one injury away from being vulnerable, I’m standing pat for the most part.”
The Celts do have interest in both Love and Horford; the question is price. And the expectation continues to be that, while the C’s would go higher for Love than Horford, their present teams want more than Ainge will give.
Anthony, of course, plays the wing, like James, only he's been hobbled by injuries, plays little defense, and dominates the ball – the virtual antithesis of what the Cavs need. A high-ranking Cavs official said Saturday there was a "zero percent" chance the team would do what it was reportedly seeking to do. "Total nonsense. Absolutely not discussed," said the source, who was given anonymity to speak freely about team affairs.
There was even a report Friday night Boston and Cleveland had “very preliminary talks’’ about whether to ask the Knicks if they wanted to join a three-way trade with Anthony that included Kevin Love, with Anthony going to Cleveland. An NBA source told The Post the Knicks had not been approached by the teams, and there was “nothing to it.” The report also stated talks did not progress.
Those talks have not progressed. Plus Anthony reiterated on Friday that he has no plans to seek a trade. However, when asked if he's thought about his future with a losing organization, Anthony gave a cryptic answer. “Not yet. I'm pretty sure I'll have that conversation with myself and my family and my team,” he said. “But it's not a conversation for right now.”
Boston has been quietly aggressive, with its well-chronicled array of assets, in search of the splashy move we all know team president Danny Ainge would love to make. But with Sacramento thoroughly unwilling to entertain offers for DeMarcus Cousins, and Cavaliers general manager David Griffin likewise emphatically shooting down the notion earlier this week of making Kevin Love available, there isn't a starry trade target for Ainge to chase. At least not yet.
No one has wanted to acquire Kevin Love more than Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, Wojnarowski says in the same podcast (The Vertical - scroll to 51-minute mark). Still, podcast guest and Yahoo colleague Chris Mannix suggests it’s too soon for the Cavs to trade Love, who just re-signed with the Cavs to a five-year max deal this past summer. Cavs GM David Griffin wants a versatile, defensive-minded wing player, Mannix hears, speculating that Jae Crowder would fit that bill.
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said Monday the team is not involved in any trade talks regarding Kevin Love. "You'd have to go a long way to convince me that we're a better team winning in the Finals without a player like Kevin on our team," Griffin said in an interview on ESPN 850 AM in Cleveland. "We've never once put together an offer involving Kevin nor have we taken a call on an offer for Kevin."
"We think very highly of Kevin and we believe Kevin thinks very highly of this situation. But, I can also tell you that we have been very clear from the beginning that there's no such thing as untouchables," Griffin said. "You're either all the way in or all the way out in this process and we believe our guys are all the way in. If it remains that way then we are going to try and augment the group at the bottom and try to get some additional depth and that's what we'll do. We're not going to be afraid to do what needs to be done if something more significant comes along."
Executives around the league told Sporting News on Wednesday that Love eventually could wind up back on the trading block, but the Cavs needed to re-sign him rather than risk losing him for nothing in return. Thompson deserves a starting spot, and the Cavs are confident that, eventually, a smaller lineup with Thompson at center and Love at power forward will work.
Storyline: Kevin Love Trade?
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