Tristan Thompson Takes Cavs for a Ride

Tristan Thompson
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Dan Gilbert won't do it. No bench player deserves anywhere near a max deal. They're already so far over the cap. He hasn't made over $5.3 million in a single year. He isn't worth it.

Apparently, all of us who used common sense and reason were wrong as the Cleveland Cavaliers Clevelanded it up again. The Cavs and Thompson reportedly agreed to a 5-year deal worth $82 million. This comes months after Thompson was reportedly holding out for a max deal which would have been worth $94 million over 5 years for the 4-year veteran (max salary values vary by experience level and whether or not a player stays with his team or leaves).

LeBron James and Tristan Thompson celebrate after a bucket
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Why would the Cavs cave? Well, for one, LeBron James was one of Thompson's biggest backers. He put pressure on the Cavs, and reportedly opted out (and held out for a few days) with the intent of pressuring Cavs general manager David Griffin into signing the reserve forward. Griffin countered with an offer similar to the one Thompson signed, but it was initially rejected. Somebody stupid was telling Thompson he was worth max money. To me, he's not worth half this.

Thompson played great through the first 3 rounds of the NBA playoffs, collecting boards at an astonishing rate, but through injuries and fatigue, he cooled down on the final stretch. Despite his postseason success, he's still the backup behind Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov. Maybe once Thompson's defense surpasses that of a balloon animal, he might be worth $9 million/year.

Let's get one thing straight, though: the Cavaliers NEEDED Tristan much more than he needed them. Although the Cavs were the only ones who could pay him that kind of money immediately, without Thompson, the Cavs might have fallen out of the race before Kyrie Irving could make his return in January. Like it or not, the Cavs are stuck with Thompson until 2021 unless there is a GM crazy enough to take on his cap hit.

Demarcus "Boogie" Cousins was surprised by news of the role player's contract
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Other NBA players reacted to the unbelievable contract. DeMarcus Cousins, forward for the Sacramento Kings, (who I believe is actually worth a max offer) responded by tweeting "How much???" I know, Boogie, I know.

Rich Paul, Thompson's agent, has done well in previous years. He has gotten better-than-market value for Eric Bledsoe and Cory Joseph while not hitting quite as big with other players. But he did have only LeBron James as a client for several years which limited his negotiating practice. Now, with such a big deal (fully guaranteed), he can attract even better clientele and make them, and by extension himself, a lot more money.

The NBA season starts next Tuesday, October 27th, and that's when we'll get our first look at Thompson's superior benchwarming capabilities.