Last week, there was a nice bit of news when the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly signed big man Tristan Thompson to a one-year, seemingly team-friendly contract. Thompson was with the Cavaliers for nine seasons, and was selected by Cleveland in that same 2011 NBA Draft as Kyrie Irving.
Thompson was one of the more important Cavaliers role players in their history, with his ability to gobble up tons of rebounds, make hustle plays in bunches with his toughness, relentless pursuit and he was a quality defender.
His contributions were seen throughout four runs to the NBA Finals in the LeBron James Return, and also in that 2016 NBA Finals comeback. Over his nine seasons with Cleveland, Thompson is third in team history in total rebounds, sixth in total blocks and seventh in games played.
After those contending years with the Cavaliers, Thompson would then help them in their second post-LeBron departure rebuild as well, as he would be with the Wine and Gold for two more seasons from there prior to signing with the Boston Celtics in the 2020 offseason.
Since, Thompson would bounce around, being dealt before the 2021-22 season to the Sacramento Kings, who would then trade him to the Indiana Pacers before the 2021 deadline. He would finish up that season with the Chicago Bulls following a brief stint with Indiana.
Thompson didn’t play in the 2022-23 regular season before he would play a bit with LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023 Playoffs.
Thompson probably doesn’t project to have a crucial on-floor role this coming season at this point, but he should be a valuable veteran resource and locker room leader for this Cleveland group, and his playoff experience should be helpful.
For a group that’s on the verge of contention, those contributions will be meaningful, and for a couple of key young Cavs, Thompson, who turns 33 next March, could have a lasting impact.
We’ll highlight those two young Cavaliers here, beginning with an ascending third-year player.