Tristan Thompson‘s days in Cleveland appeared numbered following the Cavaliers‘ acquisition of center Andre Drummond in February, but reports throughout the summer suggested that a new deal between the Cavs and Thompson is still possible, with Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com citing a source this week who says there’s “a lot of mutual interest” between the two sides.
With free agency around the corner, Thompson isn’t participating in the Cavaliers’ in-market bubble mini-camp this week. However, general manager Koby Altman made it clear that’s not a sign that the big man won’t be back, confirming that a reunion remains in play, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
“I think it’s fair to say there’s mutual interest for sure,” Altman said. “He’s been with this franchise his entire career since we drafted him. He’s won a championship here. Obviously, he means a lot to the players on the team right now.”
Thompson’s veteran teammates in the frontcourt are among those who would like to see him back, as Fedor relays. Larry Nance Jr. said that re-signing Thompson would be his “top priority” this offseason, while Kevin Love said Thompson is “so valuable for this team and this organization.”
Still, according to Fedor, one source believes a new deal between the Cavaliers and Thompson is just a “50-50” proposition, since there are some obstacles that would complicate matters. Given Cleveland’s cap situation, re-signing the 29-year-old may limit the club’s ability to use its mid-level exception. And if the Cavs draft a big man with the No. 5 overall pick in November, the frontcourt might be too crowded to fit Thompson.
“It has to make sense,” Altman acknowledged. “There are some events coming up — the draft, free agency — where we have to see if it makes sense for him. He’s earned the right to be an unrestricted free agent and explore opportunities at this point in his career. So, we’ll see.”