The deal is finally done and Tristan Thompson will be heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers after he agreed to a five-year, $82 million deal. The deal does not include a player or team option and all the money is guaranteed.
Thompson will make $16.4 million annually and it will make Thompson the sixth-highest paid power forward in the NBA.
Thompson wanted a max contract of five years and $94 million or a three year deal worth $54 million. The Cavs offered a five year deal worth $80 million but Thompson rejected that offer but still settled for less than the max.
Is Thompson being overpaid? Yes of course Thompson is being overpaid. Is he important to this team? Yes. Can the Cleveland Cavaliers win a NBA Championship without Thompson? No
In this day and age people will get overpaid in the NBA. Thompson is making all that money and he will be coming off the bench. He averaged 8.5 ppg and 8.0 rpg last season. In the playoffs those numbers went up to 9.6 ppg and 10.8 rpg.
The numbers don’t tell the whole story for Thompson. He is an active guy on the boards and he can switch on to smaller players on pick & rolls. He may not be that important to other teams but for this Cavalier’s team he is one of the most important pieces.
Thompson’s showed his value during the playoffs when Kevin Love went down in the first round of the playoffs. His minutes increased each series and his numbers went up. He creates possessions for this team in crucial moments. He didn’t score often in the NBA Finals but he played solid defense on Curry at times and he had double digit rebounds in every game. The guy grabbed 88 offensive rebounds in 20 games in the playoffs by far the most of any player. Thompson played his best basketball at the right time and he was rewarded for this. We see this happen all the time; a player does well in the postseason and gets a huge payday. It won’t be the last time we see it either.
Cleveland has a lot of big men on their roster but they don’t have anyone like Tristan. Timofey Mozgov is the bruiser inside who has good touch around the basket. Kevin Love is the stretch four who can rebound and also score around the basket. At this point in his career Anderson Varejao is a wild card and we don’t know what he has left. Thompson is the active big man who is light on his feet, he doesn’t look for his own shot and he is relentless on the offensive glass.
Everyone will continue to talk about his contract but he would have got paid in the off-season. To this team he is very important and maybe he doesn’t live up to the contract based on your standards but he will have his moments and that’s when you will realize they had to pay him. He makes this team better and they need him if they want to win an NBA title.