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Report: Tristan Thompson may be setting sights on Toronto in 2016

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Reports and speculation are beginning to surface that if Tristan Thompson ends up playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a one-year, $6.9 million qualifying offer, he and his agent could be setting their sights on heading to the Toronto Raptors in 2016.

Several factors come into play regarding how Thompson could end up in Canada, beginning with the fact that the 24-year-old was born in Toronto and has longstanding ties with the area. Secondly, Thompson’s agent, Rich Paul said that if Thompson ends up signing a one-year deal, things will not end well.

“A Tristan Thompson qualifying offer will be his last year with Cavs,” Paul told Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops reports that several league executives believe Thompson will head to Toronto should he play on said qualifying offer.

“I always thought he was going to end up (in Toronto) this year,” one Eastern Conference general manager told SheridanHoops. “There’s going to be so much money next year so I think he will get it.”

Moreover, Cory Joseph, a pal of Thompson’s who also played at Texas and is a Toronto native, just signed a four-year deal with the Raptors, making Canada an even more attractive option.

“[Thompson] is a Toronto kid and I’m sure he has a strong following at home,” added another Eastern Conference executive.

As noted by Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Chris Fedor, playing on a one-year deal isn’t without risk for Thompson, as an injury or poor season could prove devastating to securing a big-time, big-money deal.

Thompson and the Cavaliers, as noted, haven’t been talking much since negotiations broke down after the team offered the power forward a reported five-year, $80 million deal at the onset of the NBA free agency period. Given that training camp less than a month away — not to mention the ominous threat from Paul (who also represents James and Joseph) — things aren’t looking good.

Then again, James, the Cavs’  de facto player-coach-general manager indicated previously that signing Thompson to a long-term deal is the team’s “No. 1 objective right now.” In other words, what James wants, James probably will get.