While the two men stressed that the team was “not broken” there were significant questions they did not address: Will Irving be traded? When will he be traded? And to whom?
Altman insisted it was a “fluid situation” regarding Irving’s status and wouldn’t go into any real details about what plans were for him — although he did still refer to him as a “core piece.” The closest to answering what happens to Irving next came when Gilbert addressed Irving’s contract and what will happen once training camp rolls around in September.
“Kyrie Irving’s under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for 2 or 3 years depending on the last year,” Gilbert said. “He’s one of our best players so, sure, we expect him to be in camp.”
Both men were reticent to discuss what will actually happen to Irving, but it’s yet another indication that trade talks involving Irving could drag on into the season. There are a number of different complications at play here, including the fact that any player involved in a trade this instant could not have been signed this summer.
That means a good number of teams would want to wait until December 15 or later to make the move — such as the Timberwolves, who have “serious” interest but can’t move Jeff Teague until then. Whether a sniping James and Irving can coexist on a team for that long is anybody’s guess, but more than one sign points to this drama playing out for a lot longer than anyone involved would probably want.