Since LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in the summer of 2018, rumors have been swirling around veteran big man Tristan Thompson and his future with the team. The Cavaliers let the 2020 February trade deadline pass with Thompson still on their roster, but with the recent addition of All-Star center Andre Drummond, most people believe that Thompson will be leaving Cleveland in the 2020 NBA free agency. However, despite currently having a logjam in their frontcourt, there is speculation that the Cavaliers may still consider re-signing Thompson once he becomes an unrestricted free agent this fall.
According to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers have expressed their desire to bring Thompson back in the 2020-21 season and could offer him a “one-year, mutually-beneficial deal.”
“Multiple sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs want Thompson to stay. The front office discussed an extension with his camp earlier this season. While those talks quickly broke down and the Cavs eventually traded for two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond, the Cavs plan to at least try to re-sign Thompson this offseason — even if it’s a one-year, mutually-beneficial deal that allows him to hit free agency in the summer of 2021, where more teams will have cap space and the impact of COVID-19 may soften. The aftermath of the pandemic not only remains the variable that nobody can truly gauge, but it may actually play in the Cavs’ favor.”
Giving Thompson a one-year contract makes a lot of sense for the Cavaliers. Aside from giving them more time to evaluate if Thompson could still be part of their long-term plan, it would also enable the Cavaliers to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2021 where the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), and Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) would become unrestricted free agents.
A source close to Thompson reportedly told Fedor that there’s a chance that the veteran big man re-signs with the Cavaliers in the 2020 free agency, saying that he still hasn’t played his final game in Cleveland. Inking a one-year deal with the Cavaliers would allow Thompson to further increase his value before testing the free agency market again in 2021 when multiple teams are expected to have a huge salary cap space.
The idea of bringing Thompson back to Cleveland isn’t only gaining support from the Cavaliers’ front office but also from its players, including Kevin Love. Though he’s one of the players affected by the logjam in the Cavaliers’ frontcourt, Love is still hoping to play alongside Thompson again next year, saying that the veteran big man is “valuable” to both the team and the organization.