Since the 2019 NBA offseason, rumors have been continuously swirling around veteran center Tristan Thompson and his future with the Cleveland Cavaliers. As they continue to struggle in the 2019-20 NBA season, reports have recently surfaced that Thompson’s camp is actively pushing for a trade to a legitimate title contender before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
According to Chris Reina of RealGM, several NBA teams are currently engaged in a trade negotiation involving Thompson with the Cavaliers’ front office. However, if the trade deadline passes with the big man still on their roster, Thompson is reportedly unlikely to agree to a contract buyout with the Cavaliers.
“Tristan Thompson will not accept a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers if he is not traded before Thursday’s deadline, sources close to the situation tell RealGM. Multiple teams continue to discuss a trade with the Cavaliers for Thompson, who is on an $18.5 million expiring contract. Thompson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason coming off a five-year, $82 million deal signed in 2015 as a restricted free agent. Thompson is averaging 11.9 points and 10.4 rebounds in 31.0 minutes over 48 games this season. Klutch Sports has never taken a buyout in the history of their agency.”
Despite receiving plenty of trade interest on the market, there’s still a possibility that Thompson would remain a Cavalier after the trade deadline. As much as opposing teams want to add Thompson to their roster, most of them may not be willing to pay the Cavaliers’ asking price. As revealed by Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in his recent article, the Cavaliers are demanding a trade package that includes a future first-round pick in the potential trade deal.
As of now, the Cavaliers are better off lowering their asking price for Thompson and find him a new home before the deadline than lose him in the 2020 NBA free agency without getting anything in return. Though re-signing Thompson in the summer of 2020 is still an option, it remains a big question mark if it would be a wise move, especially now that some of their younger big men like Larry Nance Jr. and John Henson are starting to prove themselves in his absence.
The potential departure of Thompson would undeniably affect the Cavaliers’ performance on both ends of the floor in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, with the path that they are currently taking, the team should prioritize gathering assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process and focus on the development of their young players.