With the Cleveland Cavaliers set to suffer another disappointing season, rumors have started to swirl around veteran center Tristan Thompson. Thompson hasn’t shown any sign that he is no longer happy in Cleveland, but with the Cavaliers clearly heading into an inevitable rebuild, he is already an odd fit on their roster. In a recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Kevin O’Connor and Bill Simmons of The Ringer discussed several topics, including Thompson and his future with the Cavaliers.
With his impressive performance on both ends of the floor, Simmons believes that Thompson would be a great addition to playoff teams who are in dire need of a frontcourt boost. However, Simmons thinks that it would be “a little unrealistic” for Thompson to get traded to a contender because of his $18.5 million salary this season. If they fail to find a trade partner, Simmons sees the Cavaliers buying out Thompson’s contract after the February trade deadline.
“Because Tristan Thompson is having a really good year. He makes almost $19 million and he’s someone that would absolutely help a playoff team,” Simmons said, as quoted by Matt Burke of Metro USA. “But he also makes enough money where it’s a little unrealistic that he would get traded. It’s almost more realistic, as crazy as this sounds, that he would get bought out and then somebody would sign him at the end of February. If you’re Cleveland, you don’t want to take a giant contract back in a trade. I’d rather just buy him out and save $4 million.”
Once he becomes an unrestricted free agent, several teams will surely express interest in claiming Thompson from the buyout market. As Burke noted, some of the potential suitors of Thompson include the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and the Portland Trail Blazers.
It makes a lot of sense why the Celtics, Mavericks, and Trail Blazers would want to add Thompson on their roster. Since the 2019 NBA season ended, the Celtics and the Trail Blazers were active on the market with the goal of improving their frontcourts. The Celtics were searching for a defensive-minded big man who could fill the hole left by Al Horford on their team, while the Trail Blazers needed a temporary starting center while waiting for Jusuf Nurkic to return from an injury.
For the Mavericks, Burke believes that Thompson would be a great frontcourt partner for Kristaps Porzingis.
Meanwhile, it remains a big question mark why Burke listed the Lakers as a potential landing spot for Thompson. Thompson would definitely love to reunite with his former teammate, LeBron James, in Los Angeles, but as of now, the Lakers don’t need another traditional big man on their roster, especially with JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard both playing well this season. If the Lakers wanted to upgrade their roster, it would be for a scoring boost or a defensive-minded wingman.