Cavs rumors: Tristan Thompson rejects CLE offer, may be ‘bumpy’ talks ahead

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson handles the ball. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson handles the ball. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Tristan Thompson may not be back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, given recent Cavs rumors/reports.

Tristan Thompson is set to be an unrestricted free agent, and previously, per a report from’s Chris Fedor (subscription required), one of Fedor’s sources believed Thompson returning was ’50-50.'”

It appeared that Thompson could be back with the Cleveland Cavaliers via a bit over the now seemingly to be $9-10 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception, and via one-year deal might be realisitic. Although perhaps a multi-year deal could be a result eventually, but Cavs rumors/prior reports involving TT seemed to indicate a one-year deal would be more likely.

The bit over MLE offer, at least it’d seem yearly, to clear that up, would come from the Cavs having Thompson’s Bird Rights, as Fedor alluded to. And that offer would be factoring in how in the scenario that Andre Drummond were to at some point exercise his $28.7 million player option for next season, that’d be really the only deal available for Cleveland.

Meanwhile Drummond is reportedly undecided about his player option decision, but it seems hard to foresee Dre not pick that up, frankly, and one would think he will.

Swinging back to Thompson in this case, though, it appears that he may very not be back with the Cavs next season, based on two reports, first from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and then from Forbes‘ Evan Dammarell.

Windhorst essentially said in an appearance on ESPN Cleveland/WKNR’s Really Big Show on Oct. 29 (subscription required), that he’s “confident” TT has the “framework” that it’s possible to come back, albeit currently, the “level of compensation” isn’t there for a return. That was h/t Factory of Sadness’ Nick Dudukovich.

Windhorst made it clear to not give a number and as Dudukovich hit on, “was hesitant to call this ‘news,'” because of lack of signing capability at this point, but it was evident that TT rejected Cleveland’s offer. That was seemingly confirmed by the aforementioned Dammarell, too, who noted that talks could potentially get “bumpy.”

These recent reports show TT could very well not be back, but we’ll keep on the look out for Cavs rumors regarding that.

Thompson, who was having a career season before Drummond was acquired via trade near the 2020 deadline from the Detroit Pistons, ended up with a career-best in scoring with 12.0 points and 2.1 assists per outing. His rebounding splits at 10.1 per game was nearly in that category, too, and leading even after Dre arrived, it was still really good to see TT bought-in.

Thompson clearly took on a primary leadership role the last two seasons for the Cavaliers, and for that reason, if he were to be brought back, I could definitely understand for that reason as well, along with his contributions on the floor. KJG’s Mason Cole emphasized that previously, and I second that, feasibly via one-year deal.

That said, the above tweet was telling from Dammarell in reporting how talks between the Cleveland Cavaliers and TT could get “bumpy.” We’ll again keep on the look out for Cavs rumors regarding Thompson’s situation during this upcoming free agency period, though.

But considering Cleveland could seemingly end up selecting a big, such as Onyeka Okongwu or Obi Toppin at their #5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft on Nov. 18, and Drummond would seem likely to be back, that’d seem to kibosh the possibility of Thompson returning.

Granted, the Cavs could go with a wing such as Isaac Okoro or Deni Avdija in the draft, and that’d seem to realistically increase the chances of a Thompson return.

Albeit to reiterate, Dammarell’s report, either way, makes it seem that TT could very well sign elsewhere this upcoming free agency period.

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No matter what plays out, though, Thompson, an integral part of Cleveland’s 2016 NBA championship squad and Cavs’ #4 pick back in 2011, will likely have his #13 jersey retired by Cleveland at some point down the road.