Set to become a free agent in July 2015, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson is reportedly expected to ask for a contract extension that would average at least $11 million per year over four years, according to Akron Beacon Journal beat writer Jason Lloyd.
The 6-8 Thompson has started every contest over the past two years after primarily coming off the bench as a rookie three seasons ago, and has averaged 10.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game during his brief career. For the upcoming campaign, he’ll again come off the bench, in order to spell LeBron James or Kevin Love. Thompson is also expected to see some time in the middle, given the Cavaliers’ lack of current depth in that area.
Thompson had played just one season of college ball with the Texas Longhorns when he was chosen as the fourth pick in the 2011 NBA draft. That choice came three spots after the Cavaliers selected Kyrie Irving with the top pick. Irving signed a five-year contract extension worth $90 million over the summer.
Such financial numbers for Thompson aren’t really in line with the type of contract that a player with his statistics would ordinarily warrant. However, Lloyd cited the respective deals of Utah power forward Derrick Favors ($49 million for four years) and Milwaukee’s forward/center Larry Sanders ($44 million for four years) in coming up with the potential contract amount. Both have lesser statistical numbers than Thompson, though Favors has come closer to Thompson’s production.
Despite the need for Thompson to improve his game, he does possess an ace in the hole by virtue of having Rich Paul as his agent. Paul’s biggest client is none other than James, who in just over the two months since his return, has heavily influenced the re-stocking of the Cavaliers’ roster, most notably through the trade for Love.
Should Thompson not sign the proposed deal, he officially becomes a free agent next year, though it will be of the restricted variety. That means Cleveland can match whatever offer he gets from another team. The team could also allow him to leave, though the close connection to James again makes that unlikely.
Thompson has until October 31 to make his decision. The night before, the Cavaliers will get their 2014-15 season underway with a game at Quicken Loans Arena against the New York Knicks.