The Cavaliers Would Be Foolish to Trade Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony

When the Kevin Love for Carmelo Anthony trade chatter first started, it was easy to shrug it off as the New York Knicks just doing their due diligence in trying to unload their high-priced player for the largest haul possible. Might as well start high by trying to acquire Love, right?

However, the rumors are still swirling and haven't exactly died yet in advance of the NBA trade deadline on February 23. If it ever gains steam, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be utterly foolish to make this trade.

Side-By-Side Comparison

Anthony is not only four years older than the 28-year-old Love, but the Knicks small forward has also played in 16,000 more regular-season minutes. When playoff minutes are added, that difference increases even more to 18,000.

That's a lot of miles on Anthony's tires. Would you trade in your car for another that's roughly the exact same make and model, but four years older and has 20,000 more miles on it? No, you wouldn't.

However, when looking at their stats side-by-side from this season, it does -- at first glance -- seem like an even swap, outside of the rebounds.

Player Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game FG% 3P% FT%
Carmelo Anthony 23.0 6.1 2.9 43.7% 35.6% 82.9%
Kevin Love 20.1 11.1 1.8 42.8% 38.0% 87.8%

The difference in their two performances can easily be seen by using nERD, which is a numberFire metric that measures a player's total contributions throughout the season, based on efficiency (a league average nERD is 0). Love has produced a nERD of 5.6 so far this season, which is 22nd in the NBA and second on the Cavs, behind LeBron James' 8.8.

Anthony has produced a nERD of 1.3 this year, which ranks 87th overall.

Another look at some advanced statistics -- such as total rebounding percentage (TRB%), true shooting percentage (TS%) and effective field goal percentage (eFG%) -- show the drop in production from Love to Anthony this season is even more noticeable.

Player eFG% Ortg PER TS% TRB% Usage
Carmelo Anthony 48.9% 110 19.0 53.8% 9.5% 29.5%
Kevin Love 51.5% 115 22.0 58.2% 19.2% 26.7%

The argument that Anthony would make the Cavaliers better this season is cloudy at best. This trade could not only be bad in the short-term, but it has the possibility to be even worse when considering the long-term impact.

Long-Term Comparison

Looking at the careers of both players, Love is actually producing more for his team than Anthony has. The below table compares their career win shares (WS), win shares per 48 minutes (WS/48), win shares per season (WS/season) and value over replacement player (VORP).

Player WS WS/48 WS/Season VORP
Carmelo Anthony 96.4 .134 6.4 29.4
Kevin Love 69.7 .183 7.7 23.4

Even if Cleveland could use another scorer or ball handler to take some pressure off Kyrie Irving, it's not worth sacrificing their championship-winning core to do so.

Other Trade Possibilities for Cavaliers

Since J.R. Smith is banged up, bringing in another backcourt player would probably benefit the Cavs.

Dion Waiters returning to Cleveland is not that far-fetched because of his reasonable contract that includes an opt-out at the end of the year. However, if the Miami Heat keep winning and decide to not sell at the deadline, there are other interesting options available.

The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers are likely sellers and they both have a ton of backcourt assets the Cavaliers could pursue.

A guy like Louis Williams would be a huge addition for the Cavaliers at the deadline and he is reportedly available. Considering Williams is only making $7 million, it's definitely feasible -- even with the Cavs' salary cap restrictions.

There are a lot of possibilities for Cleveland at the trade deadline, but none of them should include trading Love for Anthony. Put the rumors to rest.