Although it appears that Tristan Thompson wants to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the rest of the 2019-20 season, the team’s recent acquisition of Andre Drummond and continued struggles in the Eastern Conference have kept the buyout rumors swirling. With this possibility still looming, a new report suggests that the 28-year-old center/forward might benefit the most by joining the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Clippers if his contract does get bought out by the Cavs.
In a list of five likely buyout candidates and their most ideal destinations, Bleacher Report‘s Dan Favale wrote this week that it might not make much sense for Thompson to stay in Cleveland since he’s likely not “in line for a big payday” in the summer of 2020. This, as explained, is because the Cavaliers have two other big men — Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. — under contract for the 2020-21 campaign, and are also expected to pick up Drummond’s option year, which will pay him $28.8 million this season.
With all those factors in mind, Favale cautioned that the Cavs probably won’t be able to make a lucrative contract offer to Thompson, whether it’s a short-term or long-term deal. While he could find a new home this summer via a sign-and-trade deal, the Bleacher Report writer noted that the market for centers is too “oversaturated,” especially considering how Thompson doesn’t have the three-point shooting ability and ball-handling skills teams look for in modern-day big men.
Tristan Thompson makes a smart touch pass to set up Kevin Love for your Heads Up Play of the Day! pic.twitter.com/p7cUUTBaZT— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 25, 2020
Given his limited prospects assuming he remains in Cleveland before entering free agency in the summer of 2020, Favale suggested that the Celtics and Clippers could be the most “obvious” destinations for Thompson if he gets bought out. Both organizations, as pointed out, may allow the Canadian big man to be one of those rare buyout acquisitions that play key roles for their new teams, thus helping him improve his value in the free-agent market.
Specifically, the Celtics were singled out as the better one among the two destinations, as Thompson could have a chance of replacing Daniel Theis as Boston’s starting center.
Aside from the Celtics and Clippers, the Dallas Mavericks were also mentioned as a possible post-buyout destination for Thompson. While Favale noted that Dwight Powell’s Achilles injury and the uncertainty regarding Willie Cauley-Stein’s future in Dallas could make this a good move for the Cavaliers star, he stressed that the Mavericks probably won’t “sling more than an inflated one-year deal” due to their overall crowded situation at power forward and center.