The contract talks between Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been largely kept out of the public eye. After a prolonged period with nothing from either side the media is finally being used as a tool to gain leverage in negotiations.
Earlier today, ESPN's Brian Windhorst did a fantastic job giving a look at the inner workings of the negotiations and what makes this situation so unique in comparison to free agent negotiations in the past. In short, the dramatic shift in the salary cap paired with the Cavs inability to replace Thompson with anyone capable of making the same impact as him, especially for his age, have left both parties in a stalemate over a reasonable deal for his services. The article included this quote from an opposing general manager:
"If [Thompson] were to be an unrestricted free agent next summer and he's healthy, he probably would be one of the top free agents available."
So the Cavs are trapped in a little bit of a bind as they look to lock up their high level role player and perfect compliment to their big three. Plus, in order to gain more leverage, Rich Paul came out with the following to say about the situation:
"All I know is TT on Qualifying Offer will be his last year with the Cavs" -- Rich Paul on Tristan Thompson negotiations.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) August 10, 2015
To clarify earlier tweet: Thompson negotiations are on-going BUT -- if he has to settle for QO offer, he will not return to Cavs in 16-17— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) August 10, 2015
So the options look pretty clear for the Cavs. Either they sign Thompson to a max contract or they could find themselves short on supporting talent beyond next season. With LeBron James saying that Tristan Thompson should be a Cavalier for life earlier this year and everything Thompson has said in the past about playing in Cleveland, it's hard to see a deal not being struck between the two parties. But Rich Paul has a history of dragging out deals as long as he has to in order to get the most possible for his client and we can likely expect a lot more back and forth before this situation is resolved.