Gilbert made his comments on Irving while discussing the Cavs trade with the Celtics.
"I don't know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston", said Gilbert. There was also Cleveland making moves with the long term in mind despite having LeBron James on the roster during the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season.
As time passed (and as the extent to which Isaiah Thomas was injured became clear), analysts began to cool on the trade a bit, especially when the Nets pick didn't land in the top three of the 2018 draft.
However, what's more interesting is that Gilbert felt the need to trade Irving promptly after his trade request, when other franchises (think of the New Orleans Pelicans and center Anthony Davis) may have been inclined to hold onto him as long as possible. "You won't get much back (under those circumstances)".
"The agent was telling us, if we don't trade him, there is some surgery he is on the borderline of having on his knee", Gilbert said. "It turned out to be true".
No one really knows what Kyrie Irving is going to do in free agency this summer, but that isn't stopping people from making predictions for the Boston Celtics star point guard. He went ahead and played the tampering game when it came to Irving's future in Boston. And Sexton has a decent amount of upside coming off an effort that earned him NBA All-Rookie second-team honors.
What Gilbert was getting at was the Cavaliers would have gotten even less for Irving had they waited another year to make the move (not to mention the threat of Irving sitting out the season to get knee surgery). Irving's second campaign as a Celtic was rocky, to say the least, and Gilbert's previous experience with the mercurial guard leaves him to believe that's how his tenure with the team will end.
As for James, Gilbert told Cleveland.com that the Cavs weren't as blindsided by his departure to the Lakers last offseason as his unexpected exit to the Miami Heat in 2010.