Both the franchise and James were rocked when Irving asked the team to trade him last week. James was informed after Irving told the Cavaliers and was unaware of the guard's feelings, sources said.
Irving did talk about the meeting to several other teammates, a league source told ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
As the Cavs consider their options, sources said James has expressed to the team that he is focused on his offseason workout regimen and is planning to report to training camp with the intention of leading his teammates to a fourth consecutive Finals -- no matter who those teammates are.
This follows the pattern James has taken with the Cavaliers in recent years. He is always kept aware of the franchise's moves and sometimes will reach out to potential new players to discuss the team but hasn't wanted to be a leader in those decisions.
The Cavs have three choices: Reject Irving's plea and not trade him as he has two years (plus an option year) left on his contract; find a package of young players and draft picks in exchange for him; or find a deal for veteran players as they deal with the reality that James can be a free agent after the 2017-18 season.
Figuring out a strategy with all these scenarios will be challenging for Gilbert and his front office, which is currently led by acting general manager Koby Altman.
Gilbert has met with Altman about the future several times. They have discussed assembling a leadership team with Altman as the permanent general manager, and sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Altman's hiring is imminent.