THURSDAY, 8:06am: A sense of optimism surrounds the talks at this point, sources tell Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Lloyd hears that Thompson is seeking annual salaries of more than $10MM, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he isn’t targeting the roughly $12MM number that Windhorst pegged in his report from earlier (below). Thompson and Anderson Varejao, who’s discussing a veteran extension with the Cavs, are likely to make about the same amount if they’re to sign extensions, and it doesn’t appear as though Varejao is willing to accept much less per year than his current salary of nearly $9.705MM, Lloyd writes.
MONDAY, 10:32am: Negotiations between the Cavs and Tristan Thompson have stalled as the Rich Paul client seeks salaries of around $12MM a year in a rookie scale extension, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Still, both sides maintain hope that they’ll reach a deal by Friday’s deadline, Windhorst adds. The report adds some clarity to a series of conflicting dispatches regarding whether Thompson and Cleveland were in talks, as I laid out earlier in light of the news that the Cavs are discussing an extension with Anderson Varejao.
Executives and agents around the league are keeping an eye on the talks with Thompson to gauge how closely LeBron James is involved with Cleveland’s front office decision-making, as Windhorst details. James and Thompson are both clients of Paul, and James holds a player option for next season that he can decline to hit free agency this summer, which makes the team a “little uncomfortable,” Windhorst writes, even though James has said multiple times he has no intention of leaving. Thompson will start the season as a bench player after Varejao won the starting center job, and it would be difficult for many teams to stomach paying $12MM for a sixth man.
Still, agents are growing bolder with an influx of TV money on the way, and lucrative deals for Eric Bledsoe, Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons this summer have left many player representatives optimistic about the prospect of restricted free agency, according to Windhorst. Greg Monroe, who wound up signing a qualifying offer worth just $5.48MM for this season, is a cautionary tale, though he reportedly rejected much more lucrative proposals.
The Cavs have only about $21.5MM in commitments for 2015/16, but that doesn’t include money for James, Love or Varejao, all of whom can become free agents. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and second-round pick Joe Harris are the only Cavs under fully guaranteed contracts that contain no option clauses for that season.