Sportress of Blogitude

Tristan Thompson, Cavs reportedly $14 million apart in contract talks


The protracted contract talks between Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have arrived at impasse after impasse, with the latest reports indicating that parties are $14 million apart in efforts to hammer out a long-term deal.

The Cavaliers were believed to have originally offered a five-year, $80 million deal at the onset of the NBA free agency period that Thompson and agent Rich Paul rejected. Thompson is believed to be seeking a max contract in the $94 million range and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports negotiations have been at “virtual standstill” since July.

Should the parties be unable to come to terms, Thompson may sign a $6.9 million qualifying offer, which in turn means he would become an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming season.

If that is indeed the way things play out, it doesn’t bode well for Thompson’s potential future with the Cavaliers on several fronts. First, Thompson’s agent indicated early on that should his client sign said qualifying offer, it would “his last year with Cavs.”

Not only that, developments in recent weeks indicate that there is plenty of demand for Thompson if he ends up a free agent, with reports indicating there are at least three teams interested in procuring the services of the 24-year-old, including his hometown Toronto Raptors, a team that has several compelling qualities that could attract Thompson north of the border.

As noted by Windhorst, of the 20 players in the modern era that have signed qualifying offers, only one has re-signed with the same team the following year, that being Spencer Hawes with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012.

Still, as is frequently mentioned whenever a new development — or lack thereof — related to Thompson-Cavaliers negotiations arise, Thompson does have a very important and powerful person in his corner: LeBron 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.”

That certainly puts the pressure on the Cavaliers. Even with the team facing significant payroll issues, an unhappy LeBron James is something the team likely would prefer not to encounter.