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Tristan Thompson Rumors: Lakers, Raptors Interested in Cavaliers Free Agent

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Coming off one of his best seasons, center Tristan Thompson is on the radar of at least two franchises with NBA championship ambitions in 2020-21.

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported the Los Angeles Lakers "would love to land" Thompson, while the Toronto Raptors "are expected to pursue" the 29-year-old.

Thompson was teammates with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers for four seasons, and they're both represented by agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.

When Thompson was in the middle of a contract standoff with the Cavs in 2015, James shared a photo of himself with the former Texas star on Instagram with the caption: "Get it done!!!! Straight up." Less than three weeks later, Cleveland gave Thompson a five-year, $82 million deal.

Leaving aside Thompson's friendship with James, he would provide depth to a Lakers frontcourt that might be without unrestricted free agent Dwight Howard as the team attempts to repeat as NBA champions.

The 6'9" Thompson has averaged 10-plus rebounds in each of the last two years. Defensively, he held opponents to a respectable 56.4 percent shooting inside six feet and 52.2 percent inside 10 feet in 2019-20, per NBA.com.

The same reasons why Thompson is a good fit on the Lakers apply to the Raptors, who have two veteran centers (Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka) on the market.

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Toronto's front office is well acquainted with Thompson, especially after facing off against the Cavs three times during Cleveland's run of four straight NBA Finals. Thompson is also a native of the Toronto area.

The price to add the 2011 first-round pick may not be too high either, which is important for the Raptors since many expect them to chase Giannis Antetokounmpo or another marquee free agent in 2021.

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