According to a story from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Cavs are seeking a “bundle” of assets in exchange for Irving. And at the top of their list is blue-chip young talent. From Lowe’s report:
They are acting as if they intend to. Cleveland is seeking a bundle of assets, but the highest priority right now is snagging a blue-chip young player, according to sources across the league. That is not necessarily a signal they think James is leaving. They would like to get everything: one or two veterans who can help LeBron dethrone Golden State, that blue-chipper, and picks. They want to prepare for a worst-case scenario of LeBron leaving without shoving him out the door by acquiring players he deems unready. Even so, the blue-chipper appears to be their guidepost, sources say.
Lowe also writes that the Cavs are functioning as if a trade is “inevitable” and that the relationship is irreparable at this point.
Cleveland’s interest in a young talent is interesting. They still want veterans who can help them now against the Warriors and to aid James in competing for a title next season. But a young player, particularly one that’s an ex-lottery pick and has shown some promise, gives them a safety net if James exits next summer. That safety net could have been Irving — and, maybe, could still be if he doesn’t get traded — and the team probably needs a younger player to fill that void. And if James does leave, a new base of TBD young player, Cedi Osman and, theoretically, Edy Tavares and Kay Felder isn’t an entirely awful place to start.
It’s still unclear what teams are interested in Kyrie and how soon a trade could happen. But it does seem like the deal is likely and, it seems, the Cavs know what they want.