Tristan Thompson won’t receive a contract extension from the Cavs, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Cavs offered the former No. 4 overall pick more than $48MM, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (Twitter link), but even though Thompson appeared to be seeking the salaries of around $12MM a year that such a deal would entail, he’s set to hit restricted free agency next summer. The Cavs were limited to offering no more than four years because they gave Kyrie Irving a five-year extension in July, reserving the team’s Designated Player slot for the point guard.
Negotiations between the Cavs and the Rich Paul client were a back-and-forth affair that went up to the final hour, with a Thursday report of optimism surrounding the talks giving way to pessimism earlier today. Still, it appeared the chances of an extension were a toss-up by this afternoon, and Thompson made his case this evening in Cleveland’s overtime win against the Bulls, scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Thompson authored that performance coming off the bench, having lost out in a preseason battle for a starting spot against Anderson Varejao, whom the Cavs signed to a three-year, $30MM veteran extension earlier today. A report indicated that Thompson and Varejao would likely have made about the same amount if they’d both signed extensions, but it appears the Cavs were willing to give in excess of $2MM a year more to Thompson. Executives around the league have kept a close eye on the Thompson talks to see just how much power LeBron James has over the Cavs organization, since James and Thompson are both clients of Paul.
Cleveland only has about $31MM in commitments for next season, including Varejao’s extension, but that number is artificially low because it doesn’t account for player options worth more than a combined $38.3MM for James and Kevin Love. Both would likely command greater amounts were they to decline their options, perhaps sending Cleveland’s 2015/16 team salary north of $70MM. A salary of greater than $12MM for Thompson would probably put the team into tax territory, making it harder for the Cavs to upgrade their roster, as Cray Allred of Hoops Rumors pointed out when he examined Thompson’s extension candidacy.