The Cavs should re-sign Tristan Thompson via one-year deal for his leadership

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson high fives Cleveland wing Cedi Osman. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson high fives Cleveland wing Cedi Osman. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Tristan Thompson has definitely made his mark with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the fourth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted a player who would forever change their franchise and help the team win its first ever NBA title in 2016. That player, of course, was Tristan Thompson, a center from the University of Texas.

The 2019-20 NBA season was Thompson’s ninth season in the league and his ninth season as a member of the Cavaliers organization. Thompson has seen countless players, general managers and head coaches find their way into the organization and then out of the organization.

From tanking teams, to below average ones, to title-contending teams, Thompson has been a constant through it all.

Tristan Thompson is set to become an unrestricted free agent whenever the 2020 NBA free agency period begins, which could reportedly very well be in late November it seems. Thompson will likely be a target for teams currently in playoff contention, but there are not many of those that look to have much wiggle room.

In any case, Thompson is currently 29 years old, meaning he still likely has a few years left where he can be highly effective. If Thompson can even somewhat replicate the performances that he gave the Cavaliers during their multiple playoff runs, he will be viewed as a coveted asset.

With Thompson set to turn 30 in March of 2021, his career timeline doesn’t necessarily match those of the Cavaliers young core. Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr. are all nearly a decade younger than Thompson. But, despite his older age, Thompson could be a player Cleveland looks to bring back, feasibly via one-year deal.’s Chris Fedor (subscription required) reported that a source said that Thompson being back with the Cavs next season is currently ’50-50,’ for context. And Fedor believes with the Cavs having Thompson’s “Bird Rights,” which could enable them to go a bit above the mid-level exception (in seemingly the $9 million range) without going into the luxury tax, and it’d seem via one-year deal, TT could maybe be re-signed.

Granted, with the Cavaliers youth and their need to give their young players more minutes in coming seasons, it would be more sensible for Thompson to sign a contract on a more veteran team. But I do believe that there is still a need for a player like Thompson on this roster, and per a Fedor source, there is “mutual interest” between the two parties.

The Cleveland Cavaliers should try their best to re-sign Thompson via one-year deal, simply due to the high quality leadership he brings.

There have been many instances throughout the career of Tristan Thompson which have contributed to his rise as a leader. The first one, and the one that most relates to the Cavaliers in this current moment, Thompson has survived being on some pretty bad teams. In his first three seasons, Thompson’s Cavs teams finished their seasons with 21, 24 and 33 wins, respectively.

Before LeBron James returned to Cleveland before the 2014-15 season, Thompson never won an absurd amount of games with the Cavaliers. Because of this, Thompson knows what it is like to be a young player on a bad team, and he knows how to still improve despite his team’s poorness.

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Players like Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr. are all going to have to find ways to continue improving as players despite their teams’ lack of success. Having a leader like Tristan Thompson who has been through a similar situation gives the young players of the Cavaliers someone to look to for guidance.

Thompson also gives the current Cleveland Cavaliers core an example to look up to when considering future postseason contention.

Thompson made four separate runs to the NBA Finals during his time with the Cavaliers. In all four of those title runs, Thompson was never the star.

LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving (for much of it) were always the players who received the bulk of the credit for the Cavaliers successes during the second LeBron-era.

But despite a slight lack of recognition for Thompson, he was always working hard and playing harder for the Cavaliers, and Thompson is third in Cavs history in total rebounds and second in total offensive rebounds.

Moreover, Thompson’s intense offensive rebounding was one of the key factors to the Cavaliers 2016 NBA Finals victory. And in seemingly a backup role to Andre Drummond next season, Thompson could again bring more offensive rebounding prowess to Cleveland’s rotation.

Thompson knows how to put his head down and simply work hard. That in itself is an attribute that would be valuable for Thompson to teach the current young players on the Cavaliers roster, as he seemingly has done so in recent seasons.

Next. Cavs: 2 goals for Tristan Thompson if he's back next season. dark

In the upcoming free agency period, the Cavaliers would be wise to re-sign Thompson via one-year deal if the opportunity presents itself.