Latest On Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson wouldn’t re-sign with the Cavaliers as an unrestricted free agent next year if he were to take sign his qualifying offer, worth nearly $6.778MM, this summer, as agent Rich Paul tells Michael Grange of SportsNet (Twitter links). That would appear to indicate that the Canadian native is adamant about signing a lucrative, long-term deal before the start of this coming season rather than trying his luck next summer, even though the cap is expected to surge. The former No. 4 overall pick is believed to be seeking maximum-level salaries, writes Brian Windhorst of, but a starting salary of the $16,407,500 max for a player of his experience would cost the Cavs more than $35MM in tax penalties on top of that amount this year, Windhorst estimates.

The Cavs probably haven’t seen the qualifying offer as their preferred route, Windhorst speculates, and given Paul’s statement today, Cleveland has further reason to strike a long-term deal. Still, the Cavs have been offering significantly less than the max, according to Windhorst, and shelling out the max over the long term for a player who chiefly came off the bench behind the newly re-signed Kevin Love might be reason for pause. Thompson averaged only 8.5 points per game in the regular season this past year, though his strength is rebounding and off-the-ball work.

Paul is no stranger to tough negotiations with restricted free agents after last season’s tense back-and-forth with the Suns that resulted in Eric Bledsoe signing a five-year, $70MM deal. Kevin Seraphin, another Paul client, signed his qualifying offer from the Wizards last summer and wound up inking with the Knicks last week. Still, it’s surprising to see Paul and Thompson take such a hard line against the qualifying offer, even though it would entail a playing for a discount this season, since signing it would set up Thompson to become a member of a fairly thin crop of 2016 free agents, outside of Kevin Durant and a few other notables, just as the salary cap is projected to spike to $89MM.

The Cavs are in a tough spot, since LeBron James, Paul’s marquee client, has expressed that he wants Thompson in Cleveland, and James can opt out of his new contract in a year. Thompson and the Cavs were reportedly close to a deal worth more than $80MM on the first day of free agency, but progress stalled. Thompson reportedly asked for $85MM over five years, after initial reports indicated that Draymond Green received that much from the Warriors, but Green wound up with $82MM instead.

In any case, Cavs GM David Griffin said in mid-July that he remained confident the sides would strike a deal. The Trail Blazers and Sixers are the only teams left with enough cap flexibility to approach the max for Thompson, and Windhorst identified the Blazers as the one team remaining that’s a “remote option” for Thompson this year, aside from the Cavs, who hold his Bird rights.

Do you think Thompson and Paul are wise to dismiss the qualifying offer, or do you think it would be advantageous for him to sign it? Leave a comment to let us know.

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10 thoughts on “Latest On Tristan Thompson

  1. Arthur Hill

    It could just be a negotiating ploy, but with LeBron James’ public support for keeping Thompson, it will be interesting to see how seriously the Cavaliers take Paul’s threat.

    • smittybanton

      Exactly this. Thompson and his agent want a new deal now instead of next year because Tristan’s market value will nosedive if Kevin Love comes back healthy and plays all year.

      Doubtful other teams view hiim as a $16M/yr player even after the cap goes up. Despite the threat, I’d be he’ll re-sign next year if Lebron is there and Cavs beat all the other offers. If I’m Cleveland, I hold fast.

      • Chuck Myron

        The thing is, though, that teams will have mad money next year, and they’re obliged to spend up to 90% of the cap. They can always distribute the difference between their payroll and the 90% line to their own players, which is the penalty, such as it is, for failing to reach the salary floor. But I think they’d rather spend that extra money on a player who can help them, and that could be Thompson.

  2. KnicksCavsFan

    I’m very disappointed in the way in which Thompson and Paul have handled negotiations this year. I want them to get their money and be secure but the valuing of Thompson as a max player at this point in his career is crazy. Other than great offensive rebounding what has he done to deserve being paid as he is requesting?

    I wish they would get this out the way and prepare for the start of the new season.

    • Common Sense

      Since he’s not that valuable and they can win without him they ought to waive him. However if they can’t win without him then they should pay him

  3. Michael Duncan

    Thompson is back-up and worth 7-8 million dollars, anywhere else Paul would be asking for that kind of money. Paul, is using LBJ as a chip.i knew it was going to come to this. LBJ got too much power and Paul riding it. I would like his ass go, and watch his career sink. He’s good cause what’s around him. Wake up Thomoson and Paul,

  4. asdfghjkk

    Even with the cap rising significantly soon, I don’t think I could honestly pay TT max money. It feels like the regret the Pacers had signing Roy Hibbert to that max contract. He is not a two way player and should not be paid as much. Realistically taking all finances into account, is TT a 35 mil/yr player? Even with a reduced number including the tax penalty is he worth 20 million a year? I could possibly swallow the 20-25 million a year including taxes for the player but approaching a Kobe level salary for a one way player with phenomenal defensive prowess that was riding the pine until an injury happened is a pretty difficult pill for me to swallow.

  5. Thompson’s defense leaves something to be desired, his best defense is rebounding the ball since he is limited in his ability to stop it. Just look at his defensive rating, it’s points worse than Love who receives much criticism for his defense. He has no shot outside of the restricted zone and needs to significantly improve his passing skills. On the up-side he’s been durable so far and has a motor that doesn’t stop. If they can’t sign him for around 5yrs/80 then they should let him accept the qualifying offer and start shopping him for a trade. They have Haywood’s 10 and Miller’s 2 million exception to give them some flexibility while shopping. It’s better than being contract locked to a limited role player that’s untradeable.

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