Rumors are swirling as we approach the NBA Trade Deadline that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson. At first glance this is a head-scratching rumor, considering Anderson's skill set as a stretch-four is a bit redundant to what they already have in Kevin Love.
Unless Cleveland's interest in Anderson coincides with moving on from Love. That's where the Celtics could get involved, according to CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely.
"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," writes Blakely.
The report doesn't define the details of any potential trade, but the result would send Anderson to Cleveland and give Boston the star caliber player they have coveted for the past few years.
Boston is sitting on a stockpile of assets ready to pounce at the opportunity to deal for a difference-maker like Love, but the Cavs aren't interested in draft picks or young players. In order to get Cleveland to play ball, Boston needs to get a third team involved. New Orleans could be that team if the Cavs see Anderson as an acceptable alternative to Love that would allow them to add other pieces to their core.
New Orleans would gladly take cheap, controllable talent and/or draft picks from Boston, who would also likely ship David Lee's expiring contract to the Pelicans. Anderson's $8.5 million contract fits into a trade exception that the Cavs have from dealing Brendan Haywood, which means they could fit another asset like Jrue Holiday or Eric Gordon into the space they carve out by moving Love's contract.
Love is one of the few players rumored to be on the trade market this week that could push the needle enough to entice the Celtics into make a deal. We've been hearing that Danny Ainge has been pursuing Love ever since the former All-Star forward made an unexpected visit to Boston to take in a game at Fenway Park in the summer of 2014.
Will Ainge cash in his chips to finally land a player that has so often been rumored to be a target for the Celtics? It all depends on price. Boston has plenty of ammo, but there are a few players on the roster that would be difficult to part with and the Brooklyn picks are almost untouchable, even for a player of Love's caliber.
You have to give something to get something, but these rumors often fizzle out when Ainge determines teams are asking for too much. Does he consider Love to be the missing piece worth going all in for or will he save his chips to cash in another day? We may find out soon.