Cavaliers Rumors

Tristan Thompson Talks Upcoming Free Agency, Cavaliers

While the rest of the 2019/20 season is up in the air for every NBA player, it’s an especially uncertain time for the players who were set to hit free agency this summer. One of those players is Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson.

A key part of the Cavs’ 2016 NBA championship, Thompson has had an up-and-down tenure in Cleveland. This season, Thompson was averaging 12.0 PPG (a career-high) and 10.1 RPG in 57 games (51 starts) before the coronavirus pandemic stopped play. Regardless of what happens to the 2019/20 campaign, the Cavaliers are already set to enter next season with Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love and Andre Drummond in their frontcourt, so it’s not clear if Thompson will be part of the team’s future plans.

In a conference call with reporters, including Chris Fedor of, Thompson discussed some topics, including his tenure in and future in the NBA.

Check out some highlights below:

Thompson’s thoughts on his upcoming free agency:

“(It hasn’t) crossed my mind at all. I don’t like to think too far ahead or think maybe or what-if. I just try to look at it, just the reality of everything now, what’s in front of us.

“No one is thinking about free agency, they’re thinking about how we’re going to get some games going. In terms of free agency stuff, I let Rich Paul handle that. He’s the best in the game. Keep the main focus the main focus and that’s staying ready to play some basketball, whenever that may be. In terms of free agency and whether guys are going to take one-year deals, the cap situation, guys are going to do what’s best for them and their family. My approach right now is just enjoy family time and stay basketball ready.”

On his tenure with the Cavaliers:

“Being in my ninth season, never thought in a million years I would have the success I’ve had. Taking it one day at a time and enjoying every bit of it. Meeting so many great people, being part of a franchise and city that’s been through so many tough times and being able to break the 52-year drought — that was the most important thing I think in my time here. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

On the players’ main concern with resuming the season:

“I think the main concern is just how can we do it in a way where everyone’s at peace when they go to work? As long as guys aren’t second guessing or hesitating and then we could start moving forward, but none of that can be done until there’s a direction with our country you know in terms of what we’re doing health-wise.”

Possible Free Agent Targets For Cavaliers

  • While February’s Andre Drummond trade will help ensure the Cavs don’t have cap room this offseason, moving Drummond’s contract should allow the Pistons to create upwards of $30-35MM in space, depending on where exactly the cap lands. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic explores which players Detroit could look at if the team decides to trade for unwanted contracts rather than using its room on free agents.

Knicks Notes: M. Jackson, Paul, Aller, Robinson

Former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson admits he dreams of getting another NBA coaching opportunity, but added that he won’t be upset if it doesn’t happen, writes Ian Begley of During an appearance this week on ESPN’s First Take, Jackson talked about his experiences in Golden State and shared his opinions on other head coaches, including Steve Kerr and Tom Thibodeau.

[RELATED: Mark Jackson Says He Wants To Coach Again]

Jackson, who grew up in New York City and played for the Knicks, was a candidate to take over the team before David Fizdale was hired two years ago. Begley isn’t certain how strongly he would be considered if the Knicks decide to replace interim coach Mike Miller, but adds that Jackson still has supporters in the organization. Jackson is reportedly being considered by the Nets as well and has a strong relationship with Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant‘s business partner and manager.

Begley also notes that Jackson wanted to hire his current broadcast partner, Jeff Van Gundy, who is also under consideration to become the Knicks coach, as his top assistant with the Warriors.

There’s more from New York:

  • The financial fallout from the NBA’s hiatus may make it easier for the Knicks to trade for a star such as Thunder guard Chris Paul, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. Paul was the favorite client of new president of basketball operations Leon Rose when he was an agent, Berman points out, and his huge contract might make him available. Paul remains an elite point guard at age 35, but is owed $41.4MM next season and $44.2MM in 2020/21. With the salary cap expected to fall, the luxury tax will be a greater concern than ever and sources tell Berman that some teams will be eager to move their larger contracts.
  • Newly-hired VP of strategy Brock Aller spent more than a month consulting with associates before deciding to leave the Cavaliers for the Knicks, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland general manager Koby Altman wanted Aller to stay with the organization where he spent the past 15 years, but Aller decided the chance to be part of a historic turnaround in New York was too good to pass up.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at center Mitchell Robinson to determine how much he can improve after two years in the league.

Kevin Love Discusses Getting Back To Basketball

It was an unusual workout, but for Kevin Love and a few of his Cavaliers teammates, Friday’s session was the closest thing to normal in the past two months, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The Cavs and Trail Blazers were the first two teams to reopen their facilities Friday after getting clearance from the league.

Love was joined by teammates Larry Nance Jr.Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, who each worked on one of the main hoops at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Under the NBA’s new guidelines, only four players at a time can be in the team facility and they must remain at least 12 feet apart.

“I played 25-ish years of organized basketball, and this is the longest I’ve ever gone without touching (a basketball). And it’s something I really, really enjoy doing,” Love said. “So for me, it definitely was a big dopamine hit, and it just felt great to get in there and sweat outside of doing my workouts at home or getting on a treadmill. Going out there and having some sense of normalcy and getting on the court and actually shooting was pretty uplifting.”

Before they could enter the building, the players had their temperatures taken and were required to answer questions about their health. Each player was assigned an assistant coach who rebounded and passed while wearing a face mask and gloves.

Every basket had a nearby table with disinfectants, towels and water. The players weren’t permitted to shower afterward and their access was limited to the practice court, weight room and training room.

While Love enjoyed the return to basketball, he said the new conditions will take some getting used to.

“It’s just going to change the way — at least for the foreseeable future — of not only how we interact but how we live in our daily lives. So for me, was it weird? Yeah,” Love said. “I had (assistant coach) Dan Geriot at my basket and having him rebound and pass me the ball with a mask and gloves on. It’s just odd. It’s just weird.”

Three-Week Minimum Anticipated For Training Camp

Commissioner Adam Silver believes a three-to-six week ramp-up period would be needed in order to resume the season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Silver was asked about the length of training camp during a conference call with players on Friday. A minimum of three weeks has been discussed around the league, Silver replied, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

With Silver indicating that no decision regarding the resumption of the season needed to made this month, that would suggest that play would resume no earlier than July.

The league is taking baby steps toward getting players back into training facilities. The NBA has given the go-ahead for teams to allow players back into their usual facilities under heavy restrictions. Only the Cavaliers and the Trail Blazers were able or willing to unlock their facilities on Friday, displaying the cautious approach many franchises and players have adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic showed up at the Cavaliers’ practice facility. Nance spent approximately 90 minutes taking shots and doing weight work, while the others spend their time at separate baskets. All the players were subject to temperature checks before being allowed in the facility.

“They did a really good job of making sure we all felt great about being there,” Nance told Stein. “They could make it at 4 in the morning and I would be there.”

Other players around the league don’t share Nance’s enthusiasm. During the conference call with Silver, Thunder guard and Players Association president Chris Paul expressed the concerns of some players that they felt pressure to work out at their teams’ facilities, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Silver reiterated that the workouts are optional and advised Paul to follow up with the league if any players had issues with their respective teams during the reopening of the facilities.

Cavaliers Consider Virtual Reality To Simulate Practices

  • With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to force teams to brainstorm innovative workarounds for internal player development, the Cavaliers are considering using virtual reality to simulate full practices, per’s Chris Fedor. Though Cleveland is reopening its practice facility tomorrow, social distance guidelines dictate that only one coach and one player, shooting at one basket, will be permitted at a time. “This is an opportunity to push the envelope and try to come up with some new and creative things,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff noted.

Larry Nance Jr. Plans To Work Out At Cavs' Facility

  • Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. tells Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links) that he plans to visit the Cavaliers’ practice facility after it opens on Friday. As Stein explains, that’s significant because Nance deals with Crohn’s disease, which is generally treated with immunosuppressive medication that can make patients more vulnerable to infections. Nance has confidence in Remicade, the drug he takes to combat the disease, per Stein.

Multiple Teams Plan To Reopen Facilities On Friday

3:29pm: The Rockets have now postponed the target date for reopening their facility to May 18, according to Medina (via Twitter).

2:03pm: Although the NBA is still expected to allow teams to reopen practice facilities for individual voluntary workouts this Friday, only a small handful of clubs are expected to take advantage right away. The Rockets, Trail Blazers, and Nuggets intend to reopen their facilities on May 8, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina. The Cavaliers will do so as well, per Chris Fedor of

Not all players have remained in their teams’ respective cities since the NBA suspended its season in March, so some Rockets, Blazers, Nuggets, and Cavs players may have to return from out of state before they can resume working out at their clubs’ facilities.

As Zillgitt and Medina detail, several other teams – including the Hawks, Heat, and Bucks – could reopen their facilities as early as next week. However, clubs like the Celtics, Mavericks, Grizzlies, and Timberwolves haven’t shared details on their plans, and many other teams will remain in limbo for the foreseeable future, deferring to local government ordinances and health experts.

The Warriors, for instance, are following the City of San Francisco’s lead, as Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. USA Today’s report suggests that Golden State is unlikely to reopen its facility until at least June, since the city’s stay-at-home order runs through May 31.

As for the teams that are opening this Friday, they’ll face strict regulations on the number of players who will be permitted into their facilities at a time (four), and how their workouts will be conducted (no group activities are allowed). The league recently issued a long, detailed memo outlining the safety measures that teams must put in place to reopen their buildings.

“This isn’t a hangout session for the guys,” a Cavaliers source told Fedor. “We’ve read the riot act – so to speak – to these guys. I think they are appreciative of us trying to find the right way to get the building open because they need the outlet and want to work out and this is the safest place for them to do it.”

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links), the NBA informed teams this week of updated measures on cardiac screening for certain players prior to their voluntary workouts. Clubs have also still been told not to conduct COVID-19 tests on asymptomatic players, since the league is sensitive to an ongoing shortage in some areas of the country. If and when the NBA is able to open camps for a resumption for the 2019/20 season, there’s an understanding those testing protocols would change, Woj adds.

Eastern Notes: Ntilikina, Bryant, Cavs, Lowry

Frank Ntilikina hasn’t lived up to the hype of being the Knicks‘ No. 8 overall pick back in 2017, but some around the league believe the 21-year-old still has a future in the NBA — even if it’s not with New York.

“If (the) Knicks move him or let him walk, teams will take a chance,” one Western Conference scout tells Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “… Maybe his role moving forward is a high-level defender off the bench that you can stick him in the corner. That could be his calling … Depends on coach and system to find the right place to play.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Thomas Bryant‘s value on the trade market could be limited, John Hollinger writes in a piece on The Athletic. The former executive believes the Wizards would have a hard time landing a first-rounder without taking back a bad contract, though multiple second-rounders may be in the cards.
  • The Cavaliers may be wise to explore moving down in the draft, Chris Fedor of explains. The top of the draft is loaded with guards and bigs, while Cleveland is badly in need of a long-term option at the wing.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic wonders how long 34-year-old Kyle Lowry can remain as productive for the Raptors. LeBron James and Chris Paul are the only 33-and-older players who had more win shares this past year than Lowry.

Beilein Not A Candidate In Wake Forest’s Coaching Search

APRIL 27: Wake Forest is moving forward with its head coaching search and has identified at least five potential candidates, according to Evan Daniels of, who hears from multiple sources that Beilein is not a candidate (Twitter links).

APRIL 25: Wake Forest announced the dismissal of head coach Danny Manning earlier today, and former Cavaliers coach John Beilein has emerged on the rumor mill as a popular candidate to take over the program.

Beilein’s transition to the NBA didn’t go as planned after decades of success at the college level, particularly at Michigan, where he turned the Wolverines into one of the best programs in the nation. Beilein compiled a 14-40 record in Cleveland and experienced frequent problems relating to players before resigning in February.

He was reassigned to another job with the organization and still has a five-year contract with the team, but the Cavs are considered very likely to let him go if he gets another NCAA opportunity.

The Demon Deacons need a quick turnaround, writes Jeff Borzello of ESPN. Wake Forest never able to post a .500 record in the ACC under Manning and finished 12th or worse in the conference in five of his six seasons. He leaves the school with an overall record of 78-111.

The need for a big-name replacement makes Beilein the best available candidate, according to Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News. Beilein would bring instant respect to the program, DeCourcy contends, and he could once again team up with his son, Patrick, who was hired at Niagara last year but resigned before the season began.

However, in his ratings of the top candidates, Borzello doesn’t see Wake Forest as the best situation for Beilein. He notes that Beilein may not want to step into a rebuilding situation at age 67, and the university may not be able to meet his salary demands after reaching a buyout agreement with Manning. Beilein made $4MM with the Cavaliers this season and $2.5MM during his final year at Michigan.