Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Sexton, Garland, MLE

Uncertainty surrounding the upcoming free agent market may work in the Cavaliers‘ favor as they try to keep Tristan Thompson, writes Chris Fedor of Multiple sources tell Fedor that the Cavs are hoping to re-sign the veteran big man, who has spent his entire nine-season NBA career in Cleveland. The front office tried to work out an extension during the season, but didn’t make any progress.

Thompson, whose five-year, $82MM deal just expired, may not find any big-money offers as the league adjusts to massive revenue losses. Fedor notes that apart from the Heat, who are believed to be saving cap space for a more attractive crop of free agents in 2021, all the teams with projected cap space are in rebuilding situations like the Cavaliers.

“I believe there’s a chance of him re-signing in free agency,” a source close to Thompson told Fedor. “He hasn’t necessarily played his final game there.”

Fedor suggests that the Lakers, Clippers or Thompson’s hometown Raptors could offer him their mid-level exception, but the Cavs could easily top that, especially since they own his Bird rights. Another possibility is a sign-and-trade that would send Thompson to a contender while giving Cleveland another asset to build around.

There’s more this morning from Cleveland:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic takes a look at the Cavaliers’ future and questions whether Collin Sexton and Darius Garland can ever form an effective backcourt combination. Both are small guards with deficiencies on defense, and Hollinger believes Garland looked “overmatched” during his rookie season. He suggests that Garland’s long-term role may be off the bench, especially with a guard-rich draft looming.
  • In the same piece, Hollinger states that the Cavs should use their mid-level exception to find a wing player who can handle either forward position. He mentions Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. and Minnesota’s Juan Hernangomez as possibilities, along with a gamble on Memphis’ Josh Jackson.
  • After being named to the Rising Stars Challenge this year as an injury replacement, Sexton has set a much higher goal for the future, Fedor writes in a separate piece. “I want to push towards that All-Star Game,” Sexton said Friday during a Zoom call with reporters. “I know what (that stage) feels like and it just makes me hungry and makes me want to work that much harder. That’s what’s next for me.”
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