Tristan Thompson

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.”

Central Rumors: Poeltl, Griffin, Porter, Thompson

The Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl and the Kings’ Harry Giles are two of the centers the Pistons could target in free agency, James Edwards III of The Athletic opines. Poeltl began his NBA career under Pistons coach Dwane Casey in Toronto and his agent, Michael Tellem, is the son of Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem, Edwards notes. Giles, like Poeltl, has the ability to develop into a much greater force than he’s shown with his current club, Edwards adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The 2019/20 season was a wash for Pistons star forward Blake Griffin due to knee and hamstring injuries. However, the oft-injured Griffin believes he has plenty left in the tank, as he told the Detroit Free Press’ Omari Sankofa II (Twitter link) and other media members. Griffin said he doesn’t see his current contract, which lasts through the 2021/22 season, as his last. He also doesn’t view himself as being in decline. Griffin said last month he’s fully recovered from knee surgery in early January.
  • It’s doubtful Otto Porter will remain on the Bulls beyond his current contract, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago speculates. Porter’s expiring contract — provided he opts in for $28.5MM next season — is his main value to the organization. Given Porter’s injury history, Johnson anticipates there are other long-term plans for the wing spot beyond Porter.
  • While many NBA experts believe free agent Tristan Thompson has played his last game with the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has heard otherwise (hat tip to Hoops Hype’s Alex Kennedy). On the Wine and Gold Talk podcast, Fedor said Thompson is intrigued by the idea of finishing his career in Cleveland. “There’s also a sense that the Cavs recognize the value that Tristan Thompson brings,” Fedor said. “And Tristan being one of the greatest Cavaliers of all-time and eventually having his jersey hung and continuing to climb the ranks of the all-time Cavs is something that’s meaningful to him.”

Central Notes: Cavs’ Draft, T. Thompson, Prince, Bulls

The Cavaliers have Israeli forward Deni Avdija ranked in their second tier of draft prospects, according to Chris Fedor of Fedor states that the team has done “extensive homework” on Avdija, but evaluation is tricky because he had limited playing time in the EuroLeague.

At 6’9″, Avdija offers athleticism, versatility and play-making, but his outside shot is questionable. Forward is Cleveland’s primary position of need, but Fedor indicates the team plans to take the best player available, regardless of position. He identifies Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball as the three players in the team’s first tier.

Fedor also says if the Cavs are interested in Obi Toppin, they should plan to use him as a power forward/center rather than a small forward. According to Fedor, Toppin doesn’t have the offensive skills or the lateral quickness to succeed on the perimeter in the NBA.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • If the Cavaliers‘ season is over, fans may not get the chance to say goodbye to a pair of franchise cornerstones in Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova, writes Evan Dammarell of Forbes. With Thompson’s $18.5MM and Dellavedova’s $9.6MM contracts deal both coming off the books, Dammarell doesn’t expect either to return next season, although Dellavedova may be willing to accept a veteran’s minimum deal. Thompson told the organization he would like to be traded to a contender before the deadline, Dammarell states, but Cleveland didn’t like any of the offers it received.
  • Former Pistons star Tayshaun Prince has the experience to succeed as the team’s next general manager, contends Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Prince performs a variety of roles in the Grizzlies’ front office and has become an influential voice since being hired in 2017.
  • Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times looks back at a disappointing season for the Bulls that will be over unless the NBA decides to resume the season for all 30 teams. Cowley hands out a few awards, such as Zach LaVine as player of the year and Coby White as reserve of the year, and says the most significant event was John Paxson’s decision to tell ownership in December that changes were needed in the front office.

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.”

Cavaliers Notes: Drummond, Thompson, Shumpert

Andre Drummond‘s option decision will be the move that ultimately controls the Cavaliers‘ offseason, according to Chris Fedor of, who hears from multiple sources that Drummond exercising that option remains the most probable outcome. With that $28.7MM option on their books, the Cavs almost certainly wouldn’t open up any cap room, limiting their potential offseason moves.

The Cavaliers are “fully prepared” for Drummond to opt in and felt when they acquired the veteran center that there was no better player – among those would be available and realistically attainable – to spend that money on, according to Fedor. As Fedor explains, Cleveland considers Drummond’s skill-set, including his ability to protect the rim on defense and roll to the rim on offense, a good match for the young guards the team is developing.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • In a mailbag for, Fedor addressed a handful of topics, including Tristan Thompson‘s possible future with the Cavaliers. Fedor says he was convinced following the acquisition of Drummond that Thompson wouldn’t be retained, but now feels that there could still be a place for the big man in Cleveland if the price is right.
  • Speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link), Iman Shumpert discussed the gradual dismantling of the Cavaliers team that won the NBA Finals in 2016, noting that he has talked to Kyrie Irving about the subject since they left Cleveland. Shumpert expressed some regret that the roster didn’t remain fully intact for another year or two, given the success the club had.
  • In case you missed it, the most recent installment in our Salary Cap Preview series focused on the Cavaliers’ 2020/21 cap outlook.

Eastern Notes: Haliburton, VanVleet, Presti, Thompson

Iowa State sophomore Tyrese Haliburton might be the safest lottery pick for the Knicks among the guard prospects, ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg told Marc Berman of the New York Post. Haliburton was averaging 15.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.5 APG and 2.5 SPG before a wrist injury cut short his season. There isn’t any guard on par with Ja Morant in the draft, according to Greenberg, but Haliburton is a pure point guard who doesn’t carry any baggage.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Raptors would probably be willing to pay unrestricted free agent guard Fred VanVleet $17-20MM annually to retain his services, Blake Murphy of The Athletic opines. The market for VanVleet could drop significantly if the salary cap is lowered, with only a handful of teams having the ability to sign him using their space. VanVleet’s best option may be to secure long-term money from the Raptors since they hold his Bird rights, Murphy adds.
  • It’s doubtful the Bulls would make a serious run at Thunder GM Sam Presti during their planned front office restructuring, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Not only is it unknown whether Presti would be interested in a high-level front office role with the club but it would probably take $8-10MM annually to land his services, Johnson continues, and the Bulls historically haven’t forked up that kind of money. Presti would also likely want to bring in some of his own people, which would add to the tab, Johnson adds.
  • A sign-and-trade is the most likely outcome for Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. It’s increasingly likely that Andre Drummond will exercise his $28.7MM option, relegating Thompson to a bench role. The Cavs might want to bring back Thompson on a team-friendly contract, but if they draft a center that would also change the equation. Thompson has earned the right to test the market and a sign-and-trade could give him a chance to maximize his value and playing time, Fedor adds.

Blazers Offered Expiring Contracts For Kevin Love

The Trail Blazers were rumored to have kicked tires on Kevin Love earlier this year, and according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic (via NBC Sports), the team offered Kent Bazemore and Hassan Whiteside for the big man.

Whiteside is making $27.1MM this season. Bazemore is making $19.3MM while Love is taking home $28.9MM. The outlined of the deal suggests that Portland would have received other players as part of the trade in order to meet the league’s salary-matching rules.

It’s not clear when exactly the proposal took place — the Blazers ended up trading Bazemore to the Kings in earlier January, so presumably, it was before that deal. Portland netted Trevor Ariza as part of the five-player trade.

The Cavaliers had Brandon Knight and John Henson on substantial expiring pacts prior to the team trading them to Detroit for Andre Drummond. Perhaps one of those two were in the proposed deal. Tristan Thompson, who is making $18.5M in the final year of his contract, could also have been a possibility, though that is simply speculation.

The Cavs couldn’t find common ground with potential trade partners when it came to Love’s trade value. Cleveland reportedly wanted a first-round pick in exchange for the big man, while it was rumored that some teams wanted a first-rounder just to take Love. The former All-Star has approximately $91MM left on his deal after this season.

Western Notes: Harkless, Lakers, Winslow

If New York buys out Maurice Harkless, the Lakers may be interested in signing the wing, Sam Amick of The Athletic said on The Sedano Show earlier today (h/t The Lakers Review). The Lakers, who missed out on Reggie Jackson to their L.A. rivals, are monitoring the Harkless’ situation.

Harkless came to the Knicks in the Marcus Morris deal at the trade deadline and it’s unclear whether he’ll reach a buyout agreement with the team. Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson may be angling for a sign-and-trade this summer and the Lakers would be a good fit for his services, as I wrote for The team doesn’t have a long-term option at the center position and Thompson would be a nice partner to Anthony Davis in the frontcourt.
  • The Grizzlies traded for Justise Winslow to be in the team’s starting lineup eventually, Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian writes. Winslow is still recovering from a back injury, so Memphis is expected to bring him along slowly.
  • Bill Oram of The Athletic chronicles Dwight Howard‘s redemption story with the Lakers. “He’s been a guy that’s always put up great numbers,” former teammate J.J. Redick said, “but I think he’s having an impact in a really meaningful way defensively on the boards, screening, rolling to the boards.”

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Drummond, Sexton, Altman

Tristan Thompson could help solve the Raptors‘ rebounding issues, but a buyout in Cleveland appears unlikely, writes Michael Grange of The native Canadian is among 12 players averaging a double-double, with 11.8 PPG and 10.3 RPG. With an expiring contract, he was expected to moved before the deadline by the rebuilding Cavaliers, who snagged his replacement by trading for Andre Drummond.

However, a source tells Grange that neither side plans to pursue a buyout. The Cavs want to hold onto Thompson’s Bird rights for a potential sign-and-trade this summer, while the veteran center believes his best chance to secure a new contract above the mid-level exception is to play out his current deal.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Drummond made two 3-pointers in his debut with the Cavaliers, more than in any of the 591 games he played for the Pistons, but coach John Beilein doesn’t sound ready to endorse the idea of Drummond as a long distance shooter, relays Chris Fedor of “When they go in, it’s always OK,” Beilein said. “But I think I have to understand who he is a little more. I know he had tried a few, he didn’t shoot any against us I don’t think in any of our games, but if you have a five that can shoot it, it does help a great deal. I think it’s still under some type of watch to see whether we’re going to continue to allow it.”
  • Even though he wasn’t an original choice for the Rising Stars game, the decision to have Collin Sexton replace Tyler Herro on the U.S. roster validates the progress he has made this season, Fedor adds in a separate story. Sexton has been the target of criticism since he came into the league, Fedor notes, and there were suggestions that the Cavaliers should try to trade him before last week’s deadline. However, Sexton has cut down on his turnovers and leads the team in scoring at 19.7 PPG, which ranks third among second-year players behind Trae Young and Luka Doncic.
  • Despite a 13-40 record, general manager Koby Altman tells Fedor he considers this season to be a success because of the development by Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. “If we’re gauging the success of those guys, I’m in a good space,” Altman said. “I’m excited about our future because of where they’ve come from Day One — first game of the season to where they are now and where they’re going.”

Buyout Rumors: Ellington, Jackson, Jazz

Veterans on the trading block that teams were unable to move by Thursday’s deadline could still wind up with other teams. Below are updates on some of those players:

  • The Knicks will look into buying out shooting guard Wayne Ellington, Ian Begley of SNY-TV tweets. Ellington signed a two-year, $16MM contract with New York last summer but the second year is only guaranteed for $1MM. Ellington, 32, has appeared in just 24 games this season, averaging 4.0 PPG in 14.1 MPG. He’s a 37.7% career shooter from beyond the arc.
  • A buyout of point guard Reggie Jackson is an option for the Pistons but is termed “premature” for the time being, Yahoo Sports’ Vince Goodwill tweets. Jackson, who is making over $18MM in the final year of his deal, has missed a good chunk of this season with a back ailment. He is close friends with Andre Drummond, who is headed to Cleveland.
  • The Jazz will be one of the contenders scouring the buyout market both domestically and internationally, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Utah explored several deals the past two days but couldn’t find one that made sense, Jones adds.
  • The Cavaliers are apparently uninterested in buying out center Tristan Thompson. Get the details here.