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Is It Time To Trade Tristan Thompson Yet?

There’s nothing like blatantly disrespecting a player you are supposedly negotiating with and want to re-sign. The Cavaliers stepped up their take it or leave it stance and started ripping down all evidence that Tristan Thompson has ever been in Cleveland.

Everything isn’t necessarily as it seems, the Cavs do have a reason for ripping everything down as explained by ESPN Staff Writer Dave McMenamin.

Per league rules, a team cannot use a player that is not under contract for promotional or revenue-generating purposes.

That doesn’t change the visual impact nor the fact the two sides are so far apart in their thinking that Thompson let the deadline for accepting the Cavs qualifying offer pass.
However, the Cavs are in control of the situation. If Thompson doesn’t take whatever offer they choose to make now, he’ll be a restricted free agent again next season and likely in an even weaker bargaining position. Maybe the team thinks he’ll play better if they lean on him a little harder?
If Thompson didn’t want out of town prior to today, it’s likely he does now and no organization is better off forcing players to stay if they have an alternative.
Unfortunately this isn’t the best time to start shopping for teams that might be interested in doing a sign and trade, but the Cavs have little to nothing to lose at this point. They may as well see what they can get back. (To the doubters, yes a sign and trade is possible with limitations up until the start of the regular season – see NBA Salary Cap FAQ)
The biggest stumbling block in this situation has been Thompson’s apparent demand for a max contract and unfortunately for Thompson, if he wants out of town now, he isn’t likely to find another team that is both willing to pay him that kind of money and the return assets to the Cavs necessary to get a deal done. Also, a max deal in a sign and trade is significantly less than a max deal from the Cavaliers – that’s just how the CBA rolls.
The only team that comes to mind who Thompson might willingly take a bit of a haircut off a max deal and might have assets they could part with the Cavs might want is north of the border in Canada. That’s a lot of mights.
Thompson is from Toronto and the Raptors have a new found focus on defense and rebounding this season. They seem pretty happy with their roster at the moment, but the chance to add a young Canadian player who was a big contributor in a run to the NBA Finals last season would have to peak president and general manager Masai Ujiri’s interest. In Cleveland, the Cavs could be tempted by a deal built around stretch power forward Patrick Patterson.
The timing is all wrong and significant trades involving restricted free agents just don’t happen during training camp and preseason, but the Cavs are almost obligated to start asking around. Everything that has happened to-date has almost certainly been interpreted as a clear ‘We don’t need you’ message to Thompson and that’s not going to be an easy thing to take back.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.