Since the 2019 NBA offseason, rumors have swirled around veteran center Tristan Thompson and his future with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though Thompson remains a Cavalier after the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, there is no guarantee that Cleveland still considers him part of their long-term plan, especially after they acquired All-Star center Andre Drummond in a trade deal with the Detroit Pistons. If Drummond opts into the final year of his contract, it is highly likely that Thompson and the Cavaliers will be heading in different directions this summer.
If he and the Cavaliers part ways in later this year, several teams in dire need of a frontcourt boost are expected to express a strong interest in adding Thompson to their roster. According to Nathan Beighle of Fansided’s Blue Man Hoop, one of the NBA teams who could target Thompson in the 2020 NBA free agency is the Cavaliers’ “archrival,” the Golden State Warriors.
“Once an archrival of the Warriors, Thompson has had a terrific season with the Cavaliers, one of the lone Cavs still standing from their 2016 NBA title-winning roster. On the season, Thompson is averaging a career-high 12.0 points per game. Albeit he has had also taken a career-high number of field goals per game as well, Thompson is still shotting relatively well, connecting on 51% of his attempts. He’s also notching over ten rebounds per game. Thompson’s style is similar to Looney’s, but he’d be a valuable asset if he continues to work on his three-point game, something Looney has yet to add to the repertoire.”
Thompson would be an incredible addition to the Warriors, giving them a starting-caliber center who has plenty of championship experience. Thompson may have spent most of his NBA career as a traditional big man but in the 2019-20 season, he has shown massive improvement with his three-point shooting, making him an intriguing fit with the Warriors. In 57 games he played, the 29-year-old center is averaging 12.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Despite being an undersized center, Thompson proved that he could guard dominant big men from powerhouse teams in the league like Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. This would greatly help the Warriors return to title contention next season.
Playing for the team that they faced in the NBA Finals for four consecutive years would undeniably be an intriguing idea for Thompson. However, it remains a big question mark if the Warriors could afford Thompson’s asking price in the 2020 NBA free agency. If Thompson won’t accept a cheap contract, the Warriors will likely be forced to look at other options this summer.