Cavs Rumors: Tristan Thompson not guaranteed to stay with Cleveland


Per reports, free agent Tristan Thompson isn’t guaranteed to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers just because LeBron is returning.

LeBron James made it perfectly clear that he thought the Cleveland Cavaliers needed to do everything in their power to retain free agent power forward Tristan Thompson. That led to speculation that LeBron pulled his “wait and see” contract negotiations in order to gauge how the Cavs would attack the offseason, including bringing back Thompson. Now with LeBron back under the Cavs umbrella for another year, the assumption would be that Thompson should soon follow, right?

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Well, maybe not so fast.

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, LeBron’s status has no bearing on Tristan Thompson returning to the team and the signing of James does not mean that Thompson’s signing is imminent.

After averaging better than 31 minutes per game over the last two seasons, Thompson took more of a back seat on the floor in 2014-15, watching his minutes drop to 26.8 per game this past season. As expected, the influx of James and Kevin Love also led to a drop in production for the fourth-year forward, with Thompson contributing 8.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game. Those were down drastically from the 11.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists that he averaged from 2012-2014.

With Love’s injury, Thompson played a much bigger role in the postseason, watching his minutes climb to 36.4 and, subsequently, his production rise as well, with averages of 9.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in the playoffs.

Thompson is looking to cash in on that performance and could possibly look elsewhere to find the right deal. According to Matt Moore of CBS Sports, Thompson turned down a 4-year, $50 million extension prior to the 2014-15 season. Whether or not Thompson is set on getting a max deal, but he could look to cash in similarly to the 5-year, $82 million deal that Draymond Green signed to stay with the Warriors. Both players profile very similarly, but Thompson is still a year younger than Green as well, so you can take that for what it’s worth.

Of course, that deal isn’t likely come with the Cavaliers. That leaves Tristan Thompson with a choice to make; chase the money and land the big deal, or return to Cleveland and chase a championship instead.

That’s a big question to ask a 24-year-old with a big career in front of him. Perhaps it is time to send LeBron in to have a poolside chat and help him find the answer.

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