Reports are surfacing that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in trading for Ryan Anderson.
The Cavaliers are showing strong interest in acquiring Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson, sources said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 17, 2016
Now, I know what you're thinking. Considering the Cavaliers have Kevin Love, there has to be more to this news, and guess what, it appears there is!
Cleveland remains very active. Cavs in talks with Pelicans about Ryan Anderson. A 3-team deal that includes Kevin Love still in play.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 17, 2016
It has long been rumored that Danny Ainge, the general manager of the Celtics, is a Kevin Love fan. Could the mysterious third team be from Boston? Well, the Celtics currently sit third in the Eastern Conference standings, and there has existed the notion they have been combing the league to add a star to the roster for sometime now.
This assumption, though, is made even more pertinent because the media in Boston also smells a story. Jackie MacMullan, a highly respected sports writer, thinks Ainge is going to take another shot before Thursday's deadline. From Ordway, Merloni and Fauria, WEEI 93.7:
The great Jackie MacMullan believes the Boston Celtics plan to chase Kevin Love before Thursday afternoon's trade deadline.
"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."
In the linked article, she doesn't think a 2-team deal between the Cavaliers and Celtics will get done. After all, both teams are vying head-to-head for the top seed in the East. However, what if a third team, one that might be best suited to replace Love's floor spacing ability is added to the mix? Certainly, that has to change the parameters and improve the odds.
As Mike Prada alluded to, Anderson is not on the same tier as Love, but I'm sure the Cavaliers do not expect him to fill those shoes by himself. Rather, they're interested in trading for the Flamethrower, the Anderson version they've encountered multiple times when they've faced the Pelicans in the past, while plugging other holes on their roster. (Ryan connected on 16 three-pointers in a mere 2 games during the 2014-15 season!) The price is steep -- giving up Kevin Love -- but winning just 1 of 4 games against the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs this season may be screaming for adjustments.
As to what the Pelicans might receive back as compensation? Don't aim for the stars -- Anderson isn't going to fetch Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder. Instead, think future compensation or expendable parts. The Celtics are LOADED with future assets. If they were to add Love to their front court, suddenly Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk will find difficultly remaining relevant because there simply won't be enough minutes to go around.
It gets a little more interesting when examining the Cavaliers' roster, especially if Cleveland remains intent on moving Timofey Mozgov. Not that long ago, there were rumors surrounding a deal involving him and Omer Asik. That might be in play again. Additionally, could LeBron James...I mean...David Griffin be interested in reuniting the two-time NBA Champion with Norris Cole?
UPDATE #1: Comcast Sportsnet Boston is reporting word of the rumor too, but claims it is just in the discussion phase (code for fragile).