The Cleveland Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson can no longer sign a one-year, qualifying offer, unless the team feels generous with him, which means the whole contract renewal dispute can only end with a long term deal.
The $6.8 million qualifying offer is now in the hands of the Cavaliers. Thompson, a restricted free agent, is still looking for a $94 million deal over five years while the Cavaliers aren’t willing to pay him more than $80 million over five seasons. There have been rumors of Thompson slightly moving towards the team with a $53 million, three-year deal, but even if that’s true, the Cavaliers didn’t pick up that option.
LeBron James is no longer championing Thompson through the media, but who knows what happens behind the scenes. Thompson is obviously without leverage, and without the momentum of a good playoff to rely on. His agent might be telling everyone he can get Thompson a maximum deal next year, but if that’s true, Thompson would have signed the qualifying offer a long time ago.
The truth is Thompson is a good, limited, slightly undersized big man. An awful free throw shooter, a player with no range, who is an excellent offensive rebounder and finisher near the rim and a good defender. Nothing more. That’s not the kind of player, despite his age and future, you pay so much money to. Not the Cavaliers, and not anyone else in the NBA.
Maybe Thompson and his representation might still believe they’ll get the contract they want out of this, but the conditions changing and surrounding this deals are overwhelmingly in favor of the Cavaliers. Bad blood between the sides? Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns are doing fine with each other, so this whole ordeal might have a happy ending as well.