Trade rumors can make a player elevate his game in desperation.
With Knicks President Phil Jackson hoping to move super forward Carmelo Anthony prior to the Feb. 23 trading deadline, lately the sharp-shooting forward Kevin Love has been dropping some heat on the league.
Love had 23 points with 16 rebounds in Cleveland’s win over the Knicks on Saturday and 39 points with 16 rebounds in Monday’s 14-135 overtime win against Washington. Since dropping three in a row, Cleveland has ripped off five of six.
Looks like Love doesn’t want to leave Cleveland after all.
Perhaps we are underestimating the power of King James. Maybe he is truly a puppet master, a genius of psychological warfare.
Maybe this entire situation has nothing to do with getting Melo to Cleveland. Or James being spoiled and entitled. While we were debating his character and leadership, he was trying to get more out of Kevin Love. A guy who still hasn't shown us the superstar swag he brought daily in Minnesota.
Maybe James -- the ultimate strategist -- is possibly being calculated every step of the way from his complaints about needing a playmaker to somewhat fueling the rumors of a trade.
Maybe all of this is championship motivation from one of the game’s all-time astute player-coaches.
The fact that Anthony is being shopped and Cleveland is a potential landing spot is fact. Whether or not Cleveland is truly pursuing Melo and as the several local NY papers reported, LeBron is the one pushing the trade, is still a bit murky.
It's possible that James is using his friend Melo and the potential trade rumors to light a fire under Love’s butt. Since trade rumors have heated up, Love’s game has done the same and the closer both teams get to a trade, the better Love is balling.
Let me find out that this was all genius motivation on LeBron’s part to get Love to elevate his game to all-star levels and beyond -- but on a much more consistent basis than he has in the past.
NBA TV flat out asked James if he could imagine life without Love and if there was any validity to the article and he went postal on the author.
Charles Barkley tends to think it’s all game.
“If LeBron James wanted Carmelo Anthony, he’d be there already,” Barkley said on NBA TV this morning.
I tend to agree with Barkley.
In any event, LeBron seems to be capturing his goal. That 6-for-10 three-point shooting Love blessed us with on Monday night shows that he is very capable of being that extra playmaker the Cavs need in order to repeat as champions.
I guess it just took some public humiliation to bring it out of him. The Melo trade rumors that kicked off 2017 might go down as being the moment that galvanized Cleveland, inspired Love to next levels and led them to a second straight NBA championship.
It would be the first pro championship that Melo helped a team win and he didn’t have to step on the court or even play for the squad to achieve it. He just allowed himself to be used as bait and motivation for another’s cause.
What a friend he is to the King.