This offseason, after the Cleveland Cavaliers end their part in these playoffs, they’re going to have a tough time deciding on whether or not to re-sign Tristan Thompson, especially if Kevin Love opts out of his contract and expects a max contract.
LeBron James, basically acting as a second general manager on this team, is clearly more worried about Thompson staying on. Yes, he helped the Cavaliers bring over Kevin Love, but rumor has it that the two aren’t exactly the best of friends. Love did eventually adjust to his role as a stretch 4 and a third option on offense, but it doesn’t mean he’s willing to go through this for one or a few more seasons.
Love is expected to opt out of his deal which will earn him $16.7 million next season. Despite the shoulder injury, Love should be able to get a max contract from someone, probably the Cavs as well, although the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, if not other teams, will be trying to offer him an enticing deal as well. Tough decision, but both the Knicks and the Lakers have a player who’ll be tough to get the ball out of his hands as well. Maybe playing next to James and Kyrie Irving isn’t so bad.
Where does Thompson fall into all of this? Assuming he’ll be getting offers for at least $10 million that the Cavs will need to match (he’s a restricted free agent a month from now), is it possible the Cavaliers will pay more than $30 million a season to a couple of power forwards? Can they afford not to? Especially with James already campaigning to sign Thompson?
Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t. This guy is 24 years old. He’s played in 340-plus straight games, and he’s gotten better every single season. It’s almost like what more can you ask out of a guy, even though we ask for more out of him.
Thompson is averaging 8.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in this postseason. After his playing time was reduced to less than 27 a night during the regular season, he’s back to 34.6 a game in the postseason thanks to Love’s injury and the shortening rotation.
He’s a young guy, but he’s a professional that loves to come to work every day. He plays his heart out every single night, and he has zero sense of entitlement in this league. All he cares about is coming into work. Whatever is given to him, he relishes the opportunity, and he’s a great teammate. So he’ll be here for a long time.