Report: Cavs would consider Tristan Thompson deal if they could find trade partner
The Cavs are entering a retooling phase thanks to the departure of LeBron James. While Thompson can help keep them competitive, he still has a bloated contract paying him $17.47 million in 2018-19 and$18.54 million in 2019-20.
Thompson signed a five-year, $82 million deal in 2015 after a long standoff over the summer. Although some questioned the value of the contract, the 27-year-old went on to play a pivotal role in the Cavs’ stunning NBA Finals comeback over the historic Golden State Warriors.
Thompson had another stellar season in 2016-17, but he took a big step back this past season. He appeared in just 53 games due to injury problems and saw a vastly decreased role when he did suit up, going from a tick under 30 minutes per game to just over 20. He recorded a career-low 5.8 points per game to go along with 6.6 rebounds per contest, and his numbers were similar in the postseason.
Thompson figures to see his minutes go back up a bit with LeBron out of the picture, though young big men Larry Nance Jr. and Ante Zizic could steal some playing time as the Cavs look to develop them. Trading Thompson away would free up minutes for those youngsters, but it’s hard to see Cleveland getting much value back after a down season.
If anything, it would probably be better for the Cavs to give Thompson a chance to recoup that value, then seek trades during the season or next summer. The big man is currently preparing for the upcoming season by playing for Canada at the World Cup qualifiers.