Cavs Trade Rumors: Tristan Thompson Drawing 'Plenty of Chatter' Before Deadline

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 29, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  DECEMBER 28:  Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a free throw during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 28, 2019 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Cavaliers dealt Jordan Clarkson to the Utah Jazz for Dante Exum on Dec. 23, and there's been trade chatter that Cavs big men Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson could be on the move as well.

Regarding Thompson, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported the following on Sunday:

"Because of Thompson's contract situation, his murky future and the many ways he can help a playoff contender, there's been plenty of chatter about him being dealt ahead of the Feb. 6 deadline, especially if the Cavs get a first-round pick in return."

Thompson, 28, has averaged 12.8 points and 10.1 rebounds for the Cavs this season. 

Fedor also wrote that dealing Thompson would be a "substantial mistake" and that he is "too valuable."

"He goes hard in practice, at walkthroughs, in pregame warmups. Recognizing that his young teammates are watching everything he does, at every moment, he always tries to set a positive example. He wears down opponents," Fedor wrote.

"His teammates hate playing against him in pick-up games. His menacing screens have become a staple on offense. He can pulverize small-ball lineups on the glass while willingly switching onto guards on the perimeter. He creates second-chance opportunities. He plays the right way."

Thompson was a key cog on the Cavaliers' four Eastern Conference champion teams from 2015 to 2018 and was the team's starting center on the 2016 NBA Finals-winning squad. He averaged 10.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in the championship series.

The Cavs selected Thompson fourth overall in the 2011 NBA draft, making him the team's longest-tenured player on a young team that's being built around a lottery-pick backcourt of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton.

He's done his part on the 2019-20 team en route to being averaging a double-double, but the 10-22 Cavs are 12th in the Eastern Conference and likely looking at their second straight season outside the playoff picture.

A complete rebuild featuring some of the Cavs' best veteran assets being dealt is a distinct possibility based on trade rumors. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on Dec. 23 that "the Cavaliers plan to start uprooting veterans on the roster to gather more draft picks and young assets."

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today wrote that "Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are veterans who could be on the move if the deal is right."

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. ET. Until then, the Cavs will look to make a run at the top eight of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, with the 14-18 Orlando Magic sitting four games ahead.