Tristan Thompson may have already played his last game for the Cavaliers. When free agency happens this fall, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. But if Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. get their way, that won’t be the case.
Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, Love tweeted that Thompson should be the team’s ‘#1 priority’.
Tristan Thompson should be our #1 priority. Leader.— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) August 18, 2020
Nance then quote tweeted Love’s post in agreement. Nance had already tweeted something similar on Aug. 6, tweeting then “My absolute top priority would be keeping Tristan.”
If you know basketball you’d understand how important a guy like TT is ⬇️⬇️⬇️ https://t.co/TNVfaYStqn— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) August 18, 2020
Thompson, 29, has been with the Cavs since being drafted by the team in 2011. The 2019-20 season was the last year of the five-year, $82 million deal he signed in 2015.
What Thompson’s future looks like is hard to say right this moment. If Andre Drummond picks up his player option — worth a cool $28.7 million — it’s hard to see the Cavs also re-signing Thompson. The team did experiment with three-big lineups towards the end of last season, and they weren’t terrible, but it still doesn’t seem likely for the team to go all-in up front.
But if Drummond declines his option and hits free agency, it’s easier to see Thompson coming back. Cleveland has his Bird Rights, so they can go over the cap if need be. But if Drummond opts out, the Cavs will have a significant amount of cap space to work with. Drummond, in a recent interview with Fubo TV, did call himself a ‘free agent’ in a comment where he also said he was focused on being in Cleveland.
“Right now, I am a free agent,” he said last week. “So right now it’s just talking to my family about what I want to do next. Just working on my body, working on my game, getting ready to comeback and play at the best of my ability, wherever I’m at. Right now, I’m in Cleveland so that’s my main focus — worrying about what I can do in Cleveland. That’s really it. Just got a lot of time to relax, take care of my body. Working on weak parts of my body, just trying to get better.”
There’s also the question of what Thompson wants. He’s been the leading locker room voice since LeBron James left, but is that a role he wants to continue in or would he prefer to go somewhere where he can compete in and for the playoffs again? Perhaps a one-year deal could make sense for both sides.