It’s already September, but things aren’t going anywhere positive between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson, both sides not really moving an inch from their initial stances.
Tristan Thompson, pushed forward by his agent Rich Paul, which more or less means LeBron James as well, is asking for the max. That’s $94 million for the next five seasons, and he feels he can ask for that much because Paul thinks the Toronto Raptors would be willing to give Thompson the max contract next year, with the new, much higher salary cap, if he’s a free agent at that point.
The Cavaliers, with plenty of luxury tax money leaking out of their treasury after signing Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Matthew Dellavedova, Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson, aren’t eager to pay Thompson the money he’s asking for. LeBron James might be pushing them to sign Thompson but there’s no other place Thompson can play at; not next season.
A restricted free agent, no team in the league is going to offer Thompson a four-year deal worth around $70 million, and at that price, the Cavaliers are probably going to match anyway. The road we’re heading down right now means Thompson is going to sign a qualifying offer worth $6.8 million, and then become a free agent in 2016, hoping that all the promises or dreams about max contracts with other teams are true.
While the term ‘max player’ has been changed due to the differences in salary cap from year to year making a “bad, overpaying” deal one year become rather reasonable 12 months later, it’s safe to say no one in the league wants to pay Thompson, a 6’9 power forward who plays a lot of center and doesn’t really have anything in his offensive arsenal besides dunks and put backs while not being too special defensively, the kind of money he’s asking for.
The Cavaliers are about the short term. Winning a championship, maybe two, and then dissolving. While it might create an uncomfortable situation with LeBron James, it’s probably the right move not giving in to Thompson’s demands.