LeBron James stumps for Tristan Thompson but wouldn’t for Kevin Love
Tristan Thompson has done a yeoman’s job of filling in for Kevin Love since the Cavaliers forward suffered a postseason-ending shoulder injury during the team’s first-round series against the Boston Celtics. In his past five games, Thompson has averaged 11.2 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks while playing 41 minutes.
Perhaps best of all for Thompson, though, is that LeBron James has taken notice.
What’s more, James went out of his way to praise Thompson, further endorsing his worth by suggesting he has earned a long-term commitment from the team.
“Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career,” James said after Monday’s practice, per Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Chris Haynes. “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t. This guy is 24 years old. He’s played in 340‑plus straight games, and he’s gotten better every single season. It’s almost like, ‘What more can you ask out of a guy?'”
What arguably makes James’ high praise of Thompson so interesting is that he refused to do the same when asked about the Love’s reportedly tenuous future with the Cavs.
Shortly after Love separated his shoulder, James was asked if he thought the forward would be on Cleveland’s roster next season. His response was evasive at best.
“That’s a question that I can’t answer right now,” James said at the time. “I think that’s the last thing on his mind right now.”
During the playoffs, James generally avoids discussions regarding anything that can distract him from his pursuit of championship glory. In fact, he routinely makes a point of insisting that he tries to avoid all the “nonsense out there” during the playoffs.
So his comments about Love, while cagey, could be deemed business as usual, although the several speed bumps James and Love have endured in forging a professional relationship cannot be dismissed.
But in light of his comments Monday about Thompson, perhaps his noncommittal comments about Love meant more than originally suspected.
(photo credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)