There’s still a $14MM gap between the Cavs and Tristan Thompson as the start of training camp nears, sources tell ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. The Cavs have held firm with their offer of $80MM over five years while Thompson’s camp wants a max deal worth $94MM over the same span, according to Windhorst’s sources. Talks have been stagnant since early July, he adds, and there isn’t much optimism on either side.
If no deal is reached by the end of the week, Thompson may sign the Cavs’ one-year qualifying offer of nearly $6.8MM to become an unrestricted free agent next year. His agent, Rich Paul, recently claimed that if Thompson will not re-sign with the Cavs long-term in 2016 if he signs that offer. Paul also has reportedly heard from three NBA teams that are willing to offer his client a max salary next summer if he hits unrestricted free agency. The agent reportedly believes he can get a max deal from the Raptors for Thompson, a Toronto native, but it’s unclear if they are one of the three.
Windhorst writes that Thompson’s camp is very aware that Cavs big men Kevin Love (shoulder), Anderson Varejao (Achilles) and Timofey Mozgov (knee) are all coming into training camp after surgeries. That additional leverage has only strengthened Thompson’s resolve to stand by his desire for a max deal.
The value of Thompson’s qualifying offer is nearly $10MM less than what he would make on the starting salary of a max deal, but the power forward could nonetheless benefit financially from taking the qualifying offer if max offers from other teams are indeed waiting for him next year. Max salaries go up in accordance with the salary cap, and with the cap set to spike for 2016/17, next summer’s projected maximum for a player with Thompson’s experience is $20.4MM. With 4.5% raises over a four-year contract, the best terms he could get if he doesn’t re-sign with Cleveland, a max deal with a new team next summer would be worth a total of $87.108MM, based on that $20.4MM starting salary projection. Combined with the qualifying offer, Thompson would make almost as much going that route as he would signing a five-year max with Cleveland this year.
Recently, Hoops Rumors’ Chuck Myron looked at different contract scenarios for the former No. 4 overall pick. Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer told Hoops Rumors earlier this month that there was little communication between the two sides and he also cited a ~$14MM schism in proposals.