There seems to be a standoff between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson, obviously about money and what his next contract will look like. If things don’t get sorted out soon, he’ll be signing a one-year qualifying offer deal, making him a free agent at the end of the season.
It’s really quite simple. Thompson, through his agent, Rich Paul, who is also buddies with LeBron James and his agent also, which is pretty much making James the agent of Thompson, is asking for the max deal. For him it’ll be a five-year, $94 million contract, more or less. But the Cavaliers, already over the tax, aren’t interested in paying him more than $80 million over the five years, and maybe a little bit less.
For the way it affects the Cavaliers tax and salary cap, this helps a lot. Thompson might decide that he’s worth the max contract anyway, even though his playing time increased last season in the playoffs because Kevin Love was injured, and there’s also Anderson Varejao back to take up some minutes. If he does go for the qualifying offer, which is worth $6.8 million, he can sign a max deal worth $122 million over five years with the Cavaliers.
But according to his agent, if Thompson and the Cavaliers don’t get a long-term deal agreed upon this offseason, he won’t be staying with them past the 2015-2016 season. We saw two similar stand offs a year ago. One between Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns, which ended in a long term deal, and one between Greg Monroe and the Detroit Pistons. Monroe signed a qualifying offer and left the Pistons after the season.
Thompson is a free agent, a restricted one. Only the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers have the cap space to sign him on a deal worth $16 million for the first year. We haven’t heard of anyone making any offers, knowing that the Cavaliers can match (which will actually be good for them) that kind of offer, which is unlikely to be made.
This is all based on the fact that Thompson believes that he can get a max deal in 2016, when 20 teams will have the cap space to offer him one. But Thompson is a player with a very limited skill set. What he does know to do he does very well, but even in a world with $89 million in cap space or more, it doesn’t make a lot of sense spending that kind of money on him.