For the first 30 or so minutes of Koby Altman’s introductory press conference Wednesday, Kyrie Irving’s trade demand and relating questions predictably came up as often as anything else. And while Altman and owner Dan Gilbert would not say directly if the team was looking to deal Irving, Gilbert dubbed it a “fluid” situation.
"These things are fluid," Gilbert said. "We think that Kyrie Irving is one of the best guards in the NBA. He was part of a championship, three years straight to the Finals and we value his talent significantly."
Altman used similar wording when pressed.
"It's a fluid situation and something that we are just not going to address right now,” he said.
Irving, who has three years left on his deal with the third year being a player option, requested a trade from the Cavs a few weeks back before it becoming public knowledge on Friday. All reports to date indicate that the team plans to deal Irving, although they have not set a hard timeline for a deal. As of Monday, they have no traction on any deal.
Gilbert, when asked directly if Irving would be on the roster at the start of training camp, left some wiggle room for the Cavs to operate in.
“Right now, Kyrie Irving is under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two or three more years,” he said. “As of now he's one of our two or three best players. Sure, I expect him to be in camp."
What the Cavs’ brass said Wednesday wasn’t particularly indicative one way or the the other. It’s clear that there has been a trade request. It’s also clear that Altman and Gilbert did not want to publicly discuss the situation. So, while they didn’t close the door on Irving returning, they didn’t make a public commitment to Irving either.
Gilbert also cited Kobe Bryant’s trade request prior to the 2007 season before he ultimately stayed with the Lakers as proof that these type of situations can ultimately result in a reconciliation.
"I think you also have to look at history sometimes," Gilbert said. "The other Kobe, not this Kobe, Kobe Bryant, I think there was a time he was calling radio stations and saying he was demanding to be traded and won two or three championships after that point. Things happen and you never know.”
In short: stay tuned, as the Irving saga isn’t close to being resolved just yet.