With Kyrie Irving having been traded to the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t have to deal with would have been awkward training camp. But as it turns out, Irving may not have showed up at all.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Irving would have rather skipped training camp than report to the team and start another season. From McMenamin’s story:
As the Cavs sat on Irving's trade request for more than six weeks, the stalemate led some around the league to wonder if Cleveland was willing to enter into the 2017-18 season with the point guard still on the roster, hoping to mend fences. After all, one of Irving's mentors, Kobe Bryant, requested a trade in the summer of 2007, only to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers and tack on two more championships and three more NBA Finals appearances. Multiple Cavs players told ESPN they hoped Irving would remain on the team, believing they could work out their differences like a family and have another crack at beating the Warriors together.
In recent weeks, that idea became unrealistic, as Irving let it be known that he would rather not report to training camp than begin another season with Cleveland, sources told ESPN.
The delay, it turns out, was fueled more by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's preference to land a "big name guy" -- which Thomas is -- and the reality that the Celtics, with president Danny Ainge's war chest full of assets, always could offer the most compared to any other realistic trade partner, sources told ESPN.
Had Irving still been around, him not reporting to camp would have been a very public way of doubling down on his trade demand. And if a reconciliation was really off the table, maybe it’s better that a deal got done now instead of during the season. Now, both sides can move ahead and focus on a real move instead of one that may or may not happen.