A Kevin Love-less Carmelo Anthony to Cleveland Cavaliers Trade

The Melo to Cleveland rumors just won't go away but how would it happen without a little Love? Time to take a look.

The story of the New York Knicks wanting to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kevin Love is out there. You can read about it in a number of places but the end of the story is pretty clear: Cavs won't give up Love but would have some interest in Melo if they could get him somehow.

There is some logic to it. While Melo is an isolation player, he has never had LeBron James and Kyrie Irving type teammates. In All-Star and Olympics games, Melo has looked like a more rounded offensive player but those are very limited experiences and could be a difficult transition for a long period of time.

On defense, Melo struggles. Many believe it is effort, which could be true. Others believe he doesn't have the quickness to guard small forwards or the strength to guard power forwards. It is possible that Melo just reserves his energy for the offensive end of the floor where he has been the lone or biggest threat on his teams for years.

In Cleveland, Melo would likely come off the bench as a high-powered offensive guy to give Irving and James a rest and make up for the lack of quality backup point guard who can make things happen.

Who he would guard in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors is a huge question. In spurts, he could matchup with Draymond Green. He could probably stick with Andre Iguodala but he can't be out there when a defensive stop is needed.

To be clear, I am not a Melo fan. I hate ball stopping, isolation basketball. I hate lack of defensive effort. I dislike pouting. I don't think he is a fit for what the Cavs need.

On the other hand, adding talent to the roster is never a bad thing so, here is one way the Cavs could get Melo without giving up Love. Please read below before throwing your hate at me on Twitter. (Follow me @JaredKMueller)

So lets break it down from each team's perspective, starting with the two fringe teams:

Grizzlies

Memphis is looking to figure out how to contend in the West and Brendan Wright is just extra at this point but Corey Brewer could give them a long defender who can shoot a little bit and can get out and run. 

Practically, had to have the Rockets moving more money out for the trade to work and found a way to make it make sense for them.

Rockets

The Rockets give up 4 pieces that sort of fit for 2 that fit better. Beverley playing off of James Harden is fine but Iman Shumpert gives a little more size on defense and the ability to knock down a shot. He will rarely be needed to handle the ball with Harden on the floor and gives the Rockets more versatility against the Warriors. He is a better shooter than Brewer as well.

Frye gives the Rockets a big shooter, something that helps around Harden's drive and kick game. While he did a great job last year, especially helping with chemistry, his performance has fallen off some with the Cavs. In the high flying Houston offense, Frye is a perfect fit.

Dekker is probably the toughest loss from this trade for the Rockets but they need to figure out a better core who can win quickly. Beverley, McDaniels and Brewer are just part of the process to make a trade happen.

Knicks

For the Knicks to give up Melo, they want young guys and roster flexibility back. While this trade has way too many players going the Knicks way, in real life it can be worked out in different ways.

The Knicks get a New York gritty PG in Beverley, a rotational big in Wright, athletic wing in McDaniels, a shooter in Dekker and a couple of guards that could be something if everything goes right. Cedi Osman or picks from one of the other team are likely included as well.

If New York is not taking back a big contract, it will have to take back a quantity of players and hope to have a couple stick long term. Melo isn't getting them much more than that at this point if they don't take on a hefty contract of some kind. His play is declining, his contract is huge and his style of play is limiting.

Cavs

Again, I'm not a Melo fan but this is how I try to make sense of this kind of deal:

Melo replaces Frye as the Cavs 3rd big and can do a variety of things. That he has to wave his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland, he should have an understanding of his role before accepting. 

The return of J.R. Smith will offset some of the loss of Shump while getting Kyle Korver in a trade earlier this season offsets the guard loss.

I expect that the Cavs would like to keep DeAndre Liggins if possible. He is the best bet to replace the rugged, long Delly defender role. Jordan McRae has shown very little this season and Chris Anderson's roster spot is needed to be freed up, as well as needed to make the money work.

In the end, the Cavs could sign Lance Stephenson, Jordan Farmer, Mario Chalmers and Larry Sanders to fill those remaining roster spots in this 5 for 1 deal they are making.

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Is this a perfect trade? No. Is it possible? Certainly. The Cavs could do a variety of things leading up to the NBA Trade Deadline. Nothing, small move or something huge like this. I am reminded of the last crazy big trade the Cavs made where they swapped a big portion of their team to find the right fit.

Maybe this happens all over again:


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