When the Cleveland Cavaliers brought back Tristan Thompson last month as a free agent signing, it was satisfying. Thompson played with Cleveland for nine seasons, was taken fourth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cavaliers, and he made his mark in a big way in his Cleveland tenure.
Thompson was a crucial role player for the Wine and Gold in the LeBron James Return from 2014-15 to 2017-18, and Thompson was one of the team’s veterans left over after James’ second departure for two seasons. Thompson’s contributions during that time were a bright spot for the Cavaliers in that time, prior to him eventually signing with the Boston Celtics as a free agent before the 2020-21 campaign.
Thompson has bounced around in the past few years since he was last with the Cavaliers, being dealt before the 2021-22 season to the Sacramento Kings and later at the 2022 deadline to the Indiana Pacers. He would then finish out the 2021-22 season with the Chicago Bulls.
Last year, Thompson did not play in the regular season, but would play with his buddy in James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023 Playoffs.
Although, going into this coming season, Thompson will again be back with the Cavaliers, and during his 2023 Media Day availability, it was apparent that he’s back where belongs. Rest assured, this from Thompson resonated with Cavaliers fans, via Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid.
Thompson is probably not going to be playing over 15 minutes per game regularly for Cleveland, with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen in the fold, and Cleveland trading for Damian Jones this offseason. Whether or not Jones can be a rotational player, Thompson isn’t set to have nearly the every night bench role as some other guys, such as Caris LeVert.
Having Thompson back on the Cavs still will give them a great veteran to have for the locker room, and he has always been a player who’s endeared himself to the fan base and city of Cleveland.
Thompson, who is third in Cavaliers history in total rebounds, sixth in total blocks and seventh in games played, is a hard-working player who found his niche, and a while back, he understood how much loyal Cavs fans and Cleveland appreciated that. That was reiterated during Media Day, via Dammarell.
What also was meaningful from Thompson’s availability was him emphasizing how he’ll be helping Mobley in his growth. Mobley could be in line for quite the leap forward in his third season, but he’ll have to put it all together, and Thompson can give some pointers to Mobley when it comes dealing with physicality at both ends.
Having Thompson as a resource can really make a difference for Mobley come the playoffs too, given Thompson’s extensive experience in that setting. These comments from TT on mentoring Mobley, who he foresees as being a “young Anthony Davis,” were telling as well, with that in mind, via Cavs/NBA reporter Spencer Davies.
After 2023 Cavaliers Media Day, it was abundantly clear Thompson is back where he belongs, in Cleveland and with the Wine and Gold. Guys such as Mobley, Darius Garland, Max Strus and Donovan Mitchell will definitely benefit from Thompson being around.
Granted, he’s not going to have the role he had previously with the Cavs. But, with Thompson’s rebounding abilities and still being effective on the defensive interior and as an intelligent defender in his minutes, he could give Cleveland solid minutes as well.
It’s great to have Double T back with the Wine and Gold.