Top officials of the Cleveland Cavaliers expect that All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to be with the team when training camp starts September 25 amid reports that he asked for a trade last July 7. During a press conference, team owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Koby Altman neither confirmed nor denied reports about Irving's demand and were both silent about plans to trade the point guard.

Instead, Gilbert heaped praises on Irving, calling him as a “core piece of what we’ve done” and a tremendous player.” The team owner also acknowledged Irving’s contribution to the franchise since he was drafted first overall in 2011 out of Duke.

According to Gilbert, Irving is under contract with the team for two more years with a player option for the 2019-20 season. "As of now, he's one of our best players, and sure, we expect him to be in camp,” said Gilbert, who arranged the press conference to announce the appointment of Altman as general manager formally.

Earlier, Irving met with Gilbert and requested a trade to either the San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat and the New York Knicks. The request created a rift between Irving and James, who, according to sources, was blindsided and frustrated by his point guard’s decision.

Irving-James rift overblown?

Altman, for his part, said the reported tension between Irving and James was overblown.

He added that the people who played with the two haven’t seen any of the reported animosity. The new general manager did not discount the possibility that the two may still play together next season. According to ESPN, several Cavs players are hoping that Irving and James will mend fences and work together to pursue another title for Cleveland.

It was reported that James couldn't wait for Irving to leave the Cavaliers but he later denied it on his Twitter account.

Team owner believes James will stay with Cavs

Gilbert and Altman both expressed confidence that James will stay with the team after next season. James has a player option in his contract in 2018 which will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Reports have it that James will leave the Cavs in 2018 and join the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Gilbert, James’ hunger is as strong as I've ever seen, and he’s very active in recruiting, even convincing 2011 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Derrick Rose to sign a one-year deal worth $2.1 million with the Cavs after a 64-game stint with the New York Knicks last season.