Tristan Thompson Signs 5-Year Contract with Cavaliers

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

USA Today

After months of negations and a training camp holdout, power forward Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers have finally agreed to terms on a new contract.

Thompson, Cavs Agree to New Contract

Wednesday, Oct. 21

Thompson has agreed to a five-year, $82 million deal with the Cavs, reported Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. The contract is fully guaranteed, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. 

Thompson's agent Rich Paul confirmed the signing, per Sam Amico of Fox Sports.

Neither Side Communicating

Sunday, Oct. 18

Haynes reported Friday "There's no communication ongoing between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Thompson's agents, Rich Paul and Mark Termini."

He added:

In fact, there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency from either side in reaching an agreement. And that means Thompson's stalemate will continue to hover over the organization like a black cloud, a cloud LeBron James considers "a distraction." ...

... There are two options for the power forward, and he's actually executing the first one by holding out until Paul feels the contract numbers are up to par with his age and skill set.

The second option is sitting out the entire season, and that option could prove to be more financially beneficial.

At 24, Thompson would remain a restricted free agent in the summer of 2016, but this time around 20-plus clubs will have sizable cap space with the salary-cap spike. It is estimated that on an average for next season, teams will have $33 million in cap space available.

Haynes also noted "Cleveland's offer is still in the ballpark of five years for $80 million, give or take."

James Comments on Thompson's Value

Sunday, Oct. 4

"Right now it's the elephant in the room. His value to us is extreme," LeBron James said, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

James added more on how the contract standoff impacts the Cavaliers, per McMenamin:

I'm not here to talk about numbers, things of that nature, because that's for them, for both sides to figure out. The last thing you need is a distraction when you try to make a championship run. And we have that right now. And it's unfortunate for both sides that we're going through it right now as a team. It's not an excuse, we will be ready to go but hopefully something happens in the near future.

James posted a picture of himself and Thompson on Instagram Oct. 3, urging both sides to come to an agreement:

Bucher: Thompson Willing to Play on 1-Year Deal If Cavs Don't Offer Max Contract

Monday, Sept. 28

Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher reported Thompson is looking to secure a max deal from the Cavs, and if they are unwilling to meet his request, he'll play on the one-year qualifying offer with plans to sign a max contract with the Toronto Raptors next summer:

Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops reported Aug. 28 that Thompson's agent, Rich Paul, could be guiding him to Toronto in 2016:

Several league executives believe Canadian Tristan Thompson may head north to Toronto in the summer of 2016 if he signs his one-year, $6.8 million qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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

Conflicting Information Surrounds Thompson's Reported 3-Year Deal with Cavs

Monday, Sept. 28

"Cavs [and] Tristan Thompson did not come to a contract agreement over the weekend [and] he is not expected to be at [Monday's] media day," reported ESPN's Brian Windhorst, citing sources. "Neither Cavs or Thompson are framing situation as 'hold out' because he has until Thursday, which is Oct. 1, to sign $6.9M qualifying offer," he added.

Despite the lack of agreement and Thompson's absence from media day, general manager David Griffin said he is "very confident we're gonna have a terrific team and very confident [Thompson] will be part of it," per Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.

On Sept. 24, ESPN's Chris Broussard cited "NBA sources" confirming Thompson will sign a three-year, $53 million contract to stay with the Cavaliers. Broussard later reported Thompson is willing to sign a deal with those terms, but one is not in place. Thompson has dropped his demands from a five-year, $94 million deal to the aforementioned three-year, $53 million mark, according to Broussard.

However, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal refuted Broussard's report at the time, stating no deal was in place and the Cavaliers were not interested in a deal involving those figures.

Thompson, 24, averaged 8.5 points and eight rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game last season. He had an even bigger impact in the postseason, notching 9.6 points and 10.8 rebounds in 36.4 minutes per contest.

Thompson, Cavaliers Reportedly Far Apart on Potential Contract 

Monday, Sept. 21

Windhorst reported the Cavaliers and Thompson are still far apart in their negotiations, with $14 million separating the two sides:

The Cavs have held firm at an offer of five years and $80 million with Thompson looking for a max contract of $94 million over the same span, sources said. The talks have been at a virtual standstill since early July, and there isn't much optimism on either side.

If no deal is reached by the end of the week, Thompson may sign the Cavs' one-year qualifying offer of $6.9 million to become an unrestricted free agent next year. His agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN last month that if Thompson signs the one-year qualifier that he will not re-sign with the Cavs long-term in 2016.

"I hear the Cavs have offered Tristan Thompson a five-year deal in the $75-80 million range," reported Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer on Sept. 5. 

"If he signs, the Cavs will have the 6'10" rebounder and defender in place," Pluto added. "But Thompson's agent, Rich Paul, has indicated his client may sign a one-year qualifying offer. He then becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016 when the salary cap will increase by at least 30 percent."

Thompson Won't Attend 'Camp LeBron'

Friday, Sept. 11

Haynes reported Thompson opted not to attend LeBron James' pre-training camp in South Florida because he's in the midst of talks with the Cavaliers for a new contract.

Thompson, Cavs Remain Far Apart on Contract Extension 

Monday, July 6

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Cleveland was closing in on a five-year deal worth in excess of $80 million for Thompson. The next day, Windhorst noted the Cavaliers and Thompson remained apart on contract talks despite the progress that had been made.

Haynes reported on contract talks July 6, saying negotiations were "active and ongoing." However, Haynes spoke to a source who said, "There's a lot of talking, but no one is saying anything."

One of the reasons LeBron James opted out of his deal, per Marc Berman of the New York Post, was to "keep the Cavaliers honest and ensure they give his teammate, rugged power forward Tristan Thompson, a maximum contract. They share the same agent in Rich Paul."

Having James in your corner is never a bad thing.

Given his performance down the stretch and the tools he brings to the table, having Thompson in the fold is a huge plus for a team with championship aspirations. 

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