Tristan Thompson

Central Notes: Oladipo, Sumner, Thompson, Bledsoe

Pacers star Victor Oladipo posted a message on social media thanking his fans, teammates and players around the league for supporting him after suffering a season-ending injury last week. Oladipo, 26, ruptured the quad tendon in his right knee and is scheduled for season-ending surgery.

“The amount of support, love and prayers that I have received over the past few days have been breathtaking and has truly inspired me to come back even better than before,” he wrote on Instagram. “Thank you to everyone including all my teammates, pacer fans and staff. Thank you to all the NBA fans around the world and all my brothers around the league who texted, called, tweeted and posted me I am truly thankful. It’s going to be tough but tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

Oladipo was in the midst of another solid season with Indiana before getting injured, holding per-game averages of 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists. His injury was a crushing blow to a Pacers team focused on making a deep postseason run in the spring.

“I will be back better than ever and if you question that well, thank you,” Oladipo wrote. “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. I am #UnBreakable.”

The Pacers currently hold the third best record in the East at 32-16, with the team still set on competing for the postseason behind the likes of Myles Turner, Tyreke Evans, Thaddeus Young and others.

There’s more from the Central Division today:

  • Pacers guard Edmond Sumner could receive more minutes going forward with the loss of Oladipo, J. Michael writes for the Indy Star. “There’ll be some nights that we may look to go to him off the bench,” said coach Nate McMillan. “There’s some nights where we can look at going with Ed off the bench instead of Aaron because it does give us more length.” Indiana traded for Sumner, 23, on draft night in 2017.
  • Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson will miss approximately two weeks of action with left foot soreness, the team announced. The soreness is believed to be from a foot sprain suffered on December 10, an injury that forced him to miss 10 straight games.
  • Eric Bledsoe is finally where he wants to be in his career with Milwaukee, Malika Andrews of ESPN writes. The Bucks traded for Bledsoe in November of 2017, giving him the chance to start and help lead a team in the Eastern Conference. “It’s slow,” Bledsoe said of Milwaukee. “There ain’t much to do. It feels just like home. I like it because I don’t want life to pass me by. In big cities, things go by too fast.”

Central Notes: Burks, Hood, Bullock, Cavs, LaVine

Guards Alec Burks and Rodney Hood are the players most likely to be moved by the Cavaliers before the trade deadline, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Burks was acquired from Utah last month because of his movable $11.5MM expiring contract. He can provide scoring off the bench, defense and ball-handling for a playoff contender. Hood is a skilled player on an expiring $3.4MM contract, though he can’t be traded without his approval since he’s playing on a qualifying offer. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson are other Cleveland players who could be moved at the right price. GM Koby Altman is seeking draft picks, multi-year contracts of expensive players who could be traded in the future, and young players with potential, Vardon adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons shooting guard Reggie Bullock and backup point guard Ish Smith are garnering trade interest, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Detroit would like to re-sign both players, who are on expiring contracts, Ellis continues. Bullock is making $2.5MM this season and Smith is pulling in $6MM. An offer of a first-round pick could entice Detroit to move Bullock, Ellis adds.
  • The steady diet of losses is weighing on the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The injury-riddled Cavs went 1-5 on their just concluded road trip. The Cavaliers don’t want to think that the rest of the season will be a slog to the finish line. “I don’t accept that,” Clarkson said. “I’m trying to compete in games. It’s tough. But we don’t even have a team. You’re playing Channing (Frye) right now and he wasn’t even getting no minutes this year. All these guys dealing with injuries and stuff like that. Sometimes coming into the game a little overmatched. But I’m not set on this is how we are.”
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine took a veiled shot at coach Jim Boylen after the team’s loss to Miami over the weekend, Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago reports. LaVine expressed his frustration that the team is playing worse despite getting some key pieces back in the lineup in recent weeks. “Something is obviously wrong,” he said. “We weren’t losing by double digits earlier in the season.” Many of the team’s issues can be attributed to Boylen’s unimaginative offensive scheme, Walton adds.

Rival Teams Interested In Cavs’ Tristan Thompson?

The Cavaliers are in year one of a rebuild and Tristan Thompson is among the veterans who could be dealt. The team has taken a few calls on the big man, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops, though the scribe cautions that the franchise is in no hurry to deal him away.

Thompson has become a leader for the Cavs, aiding Cleveland’s younger players and showcasing high energy even as the team’s losses pile up. It’s clear that Thompson has a different mindset than he did last season where he appeared distracted. It’s possible rival teams are seeing the value of a productive player who is shooting 52.9% from the field and making a positive impact in the locker room.

Kevin Love is the only Cavalier this season earning a higher salary than Thompson’s, which comes in at approximately $17.5MM. The former No. 4 overall pick will make $18,5MM next season during the last year of his current deal.

Thompson has spent his entire eight-year career in Cleveland. He’s averaging a career-high 11.2 rebounds per game this season and his 19.2 player efficiency rating is by far the best of his career.

Cavs Notes: Thompson, Osman, Dellavedova, Payne

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson called out the team after suffering a 28-point blowout loss to Houston on Friday, detailing how they failed to execute a defensive game plan centered around James Harden during the contest.

The game plan, Thompson said, was to keep it 2-on-2 on the ball and force Harden and Clint Capela to score. It was designed to make sure other players weren’t effective behind Harden as a passer, which is when the Rockets are at their best.

“Obviously have to give Harden a lot of credit for his scoring ability, but we can live with him scoring all the points as long as other guys are not contributing,” Thompson said, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “We didn’t do that tonight. Didn’t do that at all.”

Instead, the Cavs trailed by as many as 44 points and lost their 12th game in a row. Cleveland’s record now sits at 8-35 on the season, with the patience of Thompson reaching a boiling point after the loss.

“How many games has it been? At this point, we’ve taught everything we can teach,” Thompson said. “Now it’s up to the players to come out there and just do their job. Do your job. Simple. Our players didn’t do their job.”

There’s more out of Cleveland today:

  • Cedi Osman quickly earned the respect of LeBron James last season, Fedor notes in a separate story for Cleveland.com. Osman accidentally injured James during one of his first scrimmages, but James appreciated his effort level and work ethic on the team. “For me, every practice with him, dinner, lunch, being together was special. It was my favorite,” Osman said of James. “I will say I was really proud when he was talking about me to the media. What he was saying about me, all that good stuff, that was really special to me.” Osman and James have remained in touch throughout the 2018/19 season despite mostly being thousands of miles apart, checking in on each other over text.
  • Matthew Dellavedova is focused on a new role in his second stint with the Cavs, Joe Gabriele of Cavs.com writes. Dellavedova joined Cleveland, a much younger team, via trade last month, mentoring Collin Sexton and others this season. “I’m just trying to talk with him about what I’m seeing out there, what he’s seeing out there – and just talk through the game,” Dellavedova said of Sexton. “We’ve watched quite a bit of game-tape together. But he works extremely hard on the court and in the weight room. So, as long as he keeps doing that, he’s going to have a really good chance.”
  • Cameron Payne is fighting to prove himself during his 10-day contract, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes. Payne, remembered by some fans as Russell Westbrook‘s dance partner during pre-game rituals in Oklahoma City, has averaged 11.7 points in three games with the Cavs. “It’s crazy that that’s what people do remember me for,” Payne said. “Like I really haven’t, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve had the opportunity, but I started out playing behind Russ and D.J. Augustin, now he’s starting with the Magic. Then I got hurt. Then I’ve been just out. I came back and I’d be able to play and just get sprinkled in, and I never really got back to my full potential.”

Central Notes: Bulls, Thompson, Pistons, Carter

As the Bulls continue to navigate their way through the early stages of a rebuild, their core players have struggled most of the time they have been on the floor together. Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes that the core of Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen look confused when sharing the floor together and at this point, still have more questions than answers.

A big reason for this confusion is the injuries that have plagued each player. In fact, Cowley points out that the three players have only played in 15 games together, despite joining together after the Jimmy Butler trade in June 2017.

The Bulls have since added Wendell Carter to the mix and have changed coaches, which will surely continue to create confusion among their growing core. Of course, as the rebuild continues, there will be more faces added to the mix to compliment this core.

There’s more from the Central division:

  • Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson played a key role during Collin Sexton‘s recent stretch of promising play, but has missed the past ten games due to a foot injury. As Chris Fedor points out, Sexton has struggled in recent weeks without his pick-and-roll partner alongside him.
  • After their blowout loss to the Pacers, Rod Beard of The Detroit News reveals that the Pistons held a team meeting last week, with coach Dwane Casey and some of the team’s veterans sharing some positive words about how it went.
  • Wendell Carter has continued to prove he belongs in the league, providing energy and hustle plays on both ends of the floor. Sam Smith of the Bulls team website writes about how Carter is focusing on growing and learning each time he steps on the court.

Tristan Thompson Out 2-4 Weeks With Sprained Foot

12:04pm: The Cavaliers confirmed Thompson’s status in a tweet.

11:19am: Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson has a sprained left foot that will keep him sidelined for two to four weeks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Thompson suffered the injury in last night’s loss to the Bucks, leaving the game midway through the third quarter. He told Joe Noga of Cleveland.com that it happened when he landed on Malcolm Brogdon‘s foot while chasing a rebound.

“I just fell forward on it, it’ll be all right,” Thompson said after the game. “It happens when you’re rebounding and the little guys are down there. It’s part of the game. I’m just glad I was able to walk off on my own two feet.”

Thompson had an MRI this morning that showed no fractures in the foot, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, there is enough swelling to keep Thompson out of action.

It’s the latest bad break for the 6-21 Cavaliers, who were already short-handed heading into Monday. Thompson has been one of the few bright spots this season in Cleveland, averaging career highs in points (12.0) and rebounds (11.6) through 27 games.

Central Notes: Pistons, Boylen, Evans, Cavs

Don’t expect the Pistons to move either Andre Drummond or Reggie Jackson anytime soon, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes in a mailbag.

As Beard explains, Detroit views Drummond as a long-term core piece rather than a trade chip. And while Jackson may not be quite on that same level, he’s probably a more valuable asset to the Pistons than he would be to another team, according to Beard, who expects Detroit to “ride through Jackson’s contract.” Drummond and Jackson can both become free agents as early as 2020, though Drummond has a $28.75MM player option for 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic takes an interesting, detailed look at how Jim Boylen has dove head-first into his new job as the Bulls‘ head coach this week, meeting individually with all his players after taking the reins from Fred Hoiberg.
  • As his first season with the Pacers progresses, Tyreke Evans continues to adjust to a new role and new expectations, as Mark Montieth of Pacers.com writes. Evans, who inked a one-year deal to play in Indiana, has been moved to the starting lineup during Victor Oladipo‘s absence but is still struggling to produce consistently.
  • Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson has been find $15K by the NBA for making an inappropriate gesture toward a fan earlier this week, the league announced today in a press release. Thompson flipped off some Brooklyn hecklers in the wake of the Cavs’ win over the Nets on Monday.
  • Speaking of that Cavaliers win over Brooklyn, head coach Larry Drew – who removed rookie Collin Sexton from the lineup down the stretch in that game – explained later that he doesn’t believe sitting Sexton in situations like that will stunt the youngster’s development. “You can learn just as much sitting over there watching, so you can kind of get a feel and see what other guys are doing,” Drew said, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “But it’s a long season and we’re going to be in a lot of different situations where he’s going to be allowed to experience some of this stuff.”

Cavaliers Notes: Sexton, Nwaba, Thompson, Smith

Three weeks ago, there were grumblings from the Cavaliers’ locker room that rookie point guard Collin Sexton wasn’t ready for the NBA. Sexton has changed a lot of minds since then, punctuated by his 29-point performance in last night’s win over the Rockets, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Coach Larry Drew ordered the Cavs’ veterans to stop making public statements about Sexton, who moved into the starting lineup when George Hill was sidelined by a shoulder injury. That gave Sexton a chance to gain the trust of his teammates and build up his confidence.

“He’s finding a really good rhythm,” Tristan Thompson said. “I think myself and the other veterans are finding ways to make it easier for him. In terms of sets we want to run, find a package of offensive sets that he likes, that he’s comfortable with and he can read and make plays off.”

Sexton is likely to keep the starting role when Hill returns to action, which should happen soon, Fedor adds.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • Sexton’s numbers through his first 18 games are very similar to what Kyrie Irving did during his rookie season, notes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Former coach Tyronn Lue limited Sexton’s playing time early in the year because he didn’t want to invite comparisons with Irving. However, in his eight starts since Hill’s injury, Sexton is posting a 19.6/3.4/2.6 line while shooting .508 from the field and 10 of 18 from 3-point range.
  • The Cavaliers’ improved play this week coincides with Drew’s decision to move David Nwaba into the starting lineup, Vardon adds in the same story. Nwaba has been matching up with elite offensive players — guarding LeBron James, Ben Simmons and James Harden this week — and easing the defensive burden on Sexton.
  • Thompson has changed from a liability to an important asset over the past year, states Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. The veteran center was injured and seemed uninterested for much of last season, Amico contends, but he put up a pair of double-doubles over the weekend against the Sixers and Rockets. He has one more season left on his contract at more than $18.5MM.
  • The Cavs have also been better since parting ways with J.R. Smith, Amico adds, suggesting that having an unhappy veteran in the locker room was weighing down the team.

Central Notes: Evans, Thompson, Bulls

Still in the early stages of his first season with the Pacers, Tyreke Evans continues to find his groove and fit on the team. Evans posted his best game of the season in Indiana’s win on Friday, and has said that he is continuing to adjust to the offense and will look to be more assertive moving forward.

Signed this past offseason on a one-year deal, Evans serves as the Pacers’ sixth man, providing capable shooting and ball-handling in bench units. So far this season, Evans is averaging 11.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while knocking down 40 percent of his 3-pointers and playing 20.3 minutes per game.

The Pacers will continue to need Evans to step up alongside Victor Oladipo as they look to navigate the top of the Eastern Conference and cement themselves as true playoff contenders.

There’s more from the Central division:

  • With the Cavaliers suffering a slow start due to injuries and inconsistent play from many key rotational players, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes that amidst a career year, Tristan Thompson has also taken on a new role as a leader of the team, which is something the Cavaliers didn’t have when LeBron James left in 2010.
  • As the Bulls continue to struggle with injuries and inconsistent play, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago points out that the team is exactly where it should be given the injuries to some of its best players and the club’s primary focus on rebuilding and player development.
  • A recent Central Rumors post highlights Robin Lopez receiving more playing time to boost his trade value and provides updates on the injuries to Luke Kennard and John Henson.

Deveney’s Latest: Vucevic, Favors, Cavs, Valanciunas

With Mohamed Bamba‘s NBA career off to a promising start and Nikola Vucevic on an expiring contract, the prevailing wisdom suggests that Vucevic’s days with the Magic may be numbered, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. However, multiple league sources tell Deveney that Orlando isn’t looking to move the veteran center at this point.

While the Magic have explored the trade market for Vucevic in past years, they’ve yet to entertain offers this season and have been happy with how he has looked so far, per Deveney. The club also doesn’t want to put too much pressure on Bamba before he’s ready. Of course, if Orlando falls out of playoff contention by February and is offered a first-round pick for Vucevic, the team’s stance could change. For now though, he’s not being shopped.

Deveney spoke to league executives about a few more potential trade candidates, with a focus on big men, so let’s round up the highlights…

  • Although Derrick Favors signed a new two-year deal with the Jazz during the summer, his $16.9MM salary for 2019/20 is non-guaranteed, and few people around the NBA expect him to still be in Utah at that point, according to Deveney. Favors could be a trade candidate at this season’s deadline if the Jazz are able to move him a more versatile forward.
  • The Cavaliers are unlikely to go into fire-sale mode anytime soon, one executive tells Deveney. “Don’t hold your breath,” the exec said. “If they decide to blow it all up, I don’t expect that to decision to be made until we get close to the deadline. They still think they can win.” If the Cavs do start moving veteran pieces, Tristan Thompson is one player to watch, says Deveney.
  • Jonas Valanciunas is no longer an every-night starter for the Raptors, but he’s been very productive in a reduced role for the team and there are no plans to move him, sources tell Deveney.
  • Robin Lopez (Bulls) and Dewayne Dedmon (Hawks) are unlikely to net first-round picks on the trade market, but they could be decent rental options for teams seeking depth up front, Deveney writes.