Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. As his future with the Wine and Gold hangs in the balance, Kevin Love delivered his case on why the team must re-sign Thompson.

Per Chris Fedor of, Love recounted his duels with Thompson in practice. Thompson was a hungry up-and-comer when Love first donned the Cavs jersey. Even then, Love already felt Thompson’s tenacity and his subsequent evolution into a leader.

“Tristan was one of the guys when I first got here in ‘14-15 that I was so excited to be in the frontcourt with because I had battles against him,” Love said during a Zoom call with reporters on Friday. “He had to keep me off the glass and I had to keep him off the glass. We were gassed every time we played against each other. Then I got to see the evolution in his game, as a leader on and off the floor and just how fun he is to be around. It’s another guy that it’s like infectious to be around and really grown to be like a brother of mine.”

Love also shared his observation on Thompson’s production in his contract year. Most players perform extremely well in the last year of their contract. From Love’s point of view, Thompson did just that.

“Tristan was in a contract year playing really well, really established himself as a vocal leader out there on the floor,” Love said. “I love what Tristan brings. He’s a guy that’s had a little few nagging injuries, but for the most part incredibly durable and you know what you’re going to get. He just works extremely hard. And he lets his effort and that motor do so much.

Whether Thompson stays with the Cavaliers is a matter of wait and see. But Love’s words may just carry enough heft to sway the front office to offer a new contract to Thompson.