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Team Canada Cory Joseph

Cory Joseph And Tristan Thompson To Lead Team Canada In Manila

Canada Basketball has announced the 12-man roster that will compete in the 6-team Olympic Qualifying Tournament (“OQT”), tipping-off July 5th in Manila, Philippines.

“Our goal is to qualify for the Olympics,” head coach Jay Triano said. “We are focused on one practice at a time and one game at a time.”

Canada went 4-1 in a European exhibition tournament, taking on China, Croatia, Italy and Puerto Rico. Cory Joseph (Toronto Raptors) and Joel Anthony (Detroit Pistons) joined the group for the June 29th win over Puerto Rico, and Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers) met the team in Manila.

“We are facing some of the top teams at the qualifier and have prepared by completing a rigorous preparation schedule in Europe,” general manager Steve Nash said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to achieve an Olympic berth and our players and staff will be doing everything possible to achieve our goal of qualifying for Rio.”

Canada will play in Group A taking on Turkey on July 5th and Senegal on July 6th at 6:30 a.m. ET, respectively.

The Philippines, France and New Zealand will play in Group B. The top two teams from each group in the preliminary rounds will move on to the semi-final crossover games. The top two teams will then compete in the finals.

The tournament champion qualifies for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

Team Canada Senior Men's National Team Roster 2016


TSN will broadcast the tournament in Canada on TSN2 or TSN4 as follows:

Broadcast Schedule

Tuesday, July 5
– Turkey vs. Canada at 6:30 a.m. ET on TSN2
– France vs. Philippines at 9 a.m. ET on TSN2

Wednesday, July 6
– Canada vs. Senegal at 6:30 a.m. ET on TSN4
– Philippines vs. New Zealand at 9 a.m. ET on TSN4

Thursday, July 7
– Senegal vs. Turkey at 6:30 a.m. ET on TSN4
– New Zealand vs. France at 9 a.m. ET on TSN4

Saturday, July 9
– Semi-final #1 at 6:30 a.m. ET on TSN4
– Semi-final #2 at 9 a.m. ET on TSN4

Sunday, July 10
– Final at 9 a.m. ET on TSN4




Tristan Thompson - cropped

Report Cavs Have Pulled Their Offer To Tristan Thompson

It would be hard to argue that Tristan Thompson’s agent hasn’t been playing hardball with the Cavs and by all appearances, the Cavs have been returning the favor. Thus the contract stalemate. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Basketball Insiders Larry Coon has heard that the Cavaliers have pulled their $80 million offer to Thompson off the table.

Larry Coon: One assumption I think we’re safe making is that if there was a big offer sheet waiting for him, he would have signed it by now. The Cavs were under no obligation to leave their $80 million offer on the table, and from what I heard, pulled it as soon as Thompson’s qualifying offer expired. I heard it was Mark Termini doing the actual negotiating, and he has a reputation for taking a really hard stance in negotiations, but I think he seriously miscalculated this one. Maybe he was thinking LeBron would be more of an influence on the team.

This contract dispute and holdout doesn’t appear to be going anywhere fast.





Tristan Thompson - fuzzy

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.




Tristan Thompson jersey

Tristan Thompson Passes On Cavs Qualifying Offer

So things just got serious in Cleveland for Tristan Thompson and the Cavs as the young Canadian big man chose to hold out past the deadline to accept the qualifying offer. Cleveland retains his NBA rights as a restricted free agent, but when they will get to see him in camp or – gulp – in action just got a lot more cloudy.

As ESPN Staff Writer Dave McMenamin writes, this isn’t the first time the Cavs have faced (created?) an impasse with one of their restricted free agents.

The Cavs franchise has experience with players holding out, notably in the beginning of the 2007-08 season, when swingman Sasha Pavlovic missed all of training camp as he awaited a more amenable offer and center Anderson Varejao sat out until mid-December before striking a deal.

Players, especially young players trapped under rules bargained by veteran players, sometimes feel trapped in an unfair situation and it would be understandable if Thompson feels his situation in Cleveland is less than fair. The Cavaliers signed Kevin Love to a max deal early this summer, tying up the starting power forward spot for the foreseeable future. Unless Love gets hurt, Thompson will be relegated to a backup role and he faces the very real possibility that last season’s playoff run was his best and last opportunity to showcase just how much he could contribute to a winning team. If he doesn’t get a max deal now, he may never be considered for one putting up backup numbers over the next four or five years playing in Love’s shadow.

If this was the first time a Cavs player had held out at the start of the season it would be a lot easier to lay all the blame at the feet of the player, however, when it’s the third time in recent memory, just maybe there’s more than enough evidence to suggest the blame for a failure to get a deal done should be spread around to everyone involved.

Tristan Thompson - fuzzy

Still A Chance Tristan Thompson Could Play For Canada

The window may be closing with the FIBA Americas 2015 tournament set to open on August 31st in Mexico, however, there is still a glimmer of a chance that Cleveland Cavaliers free agent power forward Tristan Thompson could play for Team Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team.

“The window on that is closing now just because of the timelines and our ability, if something did happen, to try and secure insurance would be difficult, getting permission from whatever team he signs with would be difficult also,” said Team Canada head coach Jay Triano. “I would think that the window is closing, but I love the fact that he is here. I love the fact that he shows an interest in these guys as he always has. He has been a big part of our program.”

Thompson is a restricted free agent and it looked like he had a deal done to re-sign with the Cavaliers in early July, but things stalled and haven’t moved since. Unless Thompson’s contract situation gets resolved very quickly, it is going to be too late for Team Canada.

“He has been here two or three times now,” Triano said. “He gets his work done before we get on the floor. He is staying ready. He’s a pro and he has always been and he’s been a part of this program and he is friends with all these guys.”

Thompson has been Canada’s best big man over the past two summers and averaged a double-double at FIBA Americas 2013, however, this year the Canadians have substantially better depth up front. The Magic’s Andrew Nicholson returns with help from the Celtics Kelly Olynyk, the Mavericks Dwight Powell, the Timberwolves Anthony Bennett and the Lakers Robert Sacre. So, even if the glimmer of hope fades out over the next few days, Team Canada is well stocked with talented big men.

“He is still going to be part of this program in the future,” Triano said. “It’s just unfortunate we are not going to be able to use him this summer.”



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.




Cory Joseph scrum 2015Raptors Cory Joseph Leads Canada’s Best Men’s Basketball Team Ever

“We’ve got the most talent we’ve ever had in Canada in a gymnasium at one time, it’s great,” Triano said.

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

Cavs And Tristan Thompson Stalemate Bad For Team Canada

In the not really news category, Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been able to come to an agreement on an extension for next season. Now Thompson can afford to bet on himself again this summer and sign an even better deal as an unrestricted free agent next year and the Cavs will save about $30 million in luxury tax if Thompson takes the qualifying offer, but this is really bad news for Team Canada as they need their best power forward to help them win at the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament later this summer.

This stalemate has gone on for over a month now as Thompson believes he has earned a max contract based on his play last year and the Cavs are holding out for a presumed lower five-year $80 million figure.  But maybe both sides have good reasons for wanting to never agree. Thompson would become the most expensive free agent backup ever signed – Kevin Love will be the starter and just maybe Thompson would be happier somewhere else where he doesn’t have to play in someone’s shadow for the next five years.

Team Canada will be the big loser in all of this as it is completely unreasonable to expect Thompson to risk injury playing (free) international basketball prior to securing his first big NBA contract. He will be looking at $70-80 million over four years if he signs with another team next July.



If Thompson wants out of Cleveland, his only real option is to be willing to sign the qualifying offer. Signing a four-year offer sheet with another team would be doing the Cavs a favor as they would simply just match it. As an unrestricted free agent next summer, Thompson could sign anywhere – say back home in Toronto where a year ago last July he stood in the crowd outside the Air Canada Centre to watch Game Seven against the Nets with the fans. Anyone who thinks the Raptors aren’t salivating about the possibility of picking up Thompson in free agency simply hasn’t been paying attention. This local kid is precisely the type of player who would thrive under Head Coach Dwane Casey.

Maybe it’s time to warm up some earlier speculation that the best move for the Cavs this summer would be a sign and trade with Toronto. If the Cavs GM David Griffin could extract Jonas Valanciunas and Patrick Patterson from the Raptors in return for Thompson, he’d have a huge win on his hands instead of a potential mess and nothing in return next July. Pick up the phone Griffin, the other side is motivated.



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.




Tristan Thompson with superfan MoVernieAre The Raptors Waiting For Tristan Thompson To Come Home?

A local boy — he was born and raised in the Toronto suburb of Brampton — Thompson had grown up as a Raptors fan. Now Thompson is a restricted free agent and the Cavs are having a hard time signing him to an extension. Could it be because Thompson harbors a desire, like LeBron James, to come home? By Michael Hobson




Tristan Thompson jersey

Are The Cavs Hoping Tristan Thompson Takes The Qualifying Offer?

The silence coming out of Cleveland about Tristan Thompson has been deafening ever since talks apparently stalled around a rumored five-year $80 million offer that was supposedly rejected. The longer the stalemate lasts, the more likely Thompson just takes the $6.8 million qualifying offer and cashes in next summer when the NBA Salary Cap and maximum salary he could sign for take a jump approaching 30 percent. Could the Cavs actually be hoping for that scenario?

It’s been assumed Thompson wanted a max deal from the Cavs which would come in closer to $87 million over five years, although the difference in the money makes that scenario seem rather unlikely. Does anyone really believe the Cavs would risk losing Thompson for nothing next summer over what amounts to about $1.2 million per season without a really good reason?

Cavs Nation update on the Thompson situation only serves to highlight the confusion in Cleveland.

The Cavs were largely expected to re-sign Tristan Thompson as soon as they could, but the two sides still haven’t agreed upon a contract.

Thompson really only has two options here, which is to:

A) Take the 5-year, $80 million deal offered to him after he gambled on himself last year by not signing an extension or
B) Sign a $6.8 million Qualifying Offer for the 2015-16 season and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

This has never been a one-sided issue between player and team. Yes, as a restricted free agent the Cavs can match any offer Thompson’s agent could find and they would. With the Salary Cap set to rise $20 million next summer and $20 million more the summer after that, any long term deal signed now will look like a huge bargain in two years. It would be almost silly to believe the Cavs care if Thompson signs for about $15 million to start or a max $16.4 million. Anything that gets a player beyond the 2017-18 season is worth doing today. The only caveat from the team’s side is a potential luxury tax bill.

The only two players left to re-sign in Cleveland are J.R. Smith and Thompson and with 11 players under guaranteed contracts, the Cavs are almost precisely at the luxury tax line. These last two roster spots have the potential to be very expensive.

Assume Smith comes back on a modest $5 million deal, that will cost the Cavs $7.5 million in luxury tax.

If Thompson takes the assumed five-year deal that puts about $15 million on the table for next year, the luxury tax bill jumps to $45 million in total. Hey, it could have been worse!

But, take another look at this from a team perspective. Thompson is the backup power forward on a star laden team. His salary plus luxury tax hit could come in at $52.5 million for next season alone. Unless someone (Kevin Love) gets hurt (again), his minutes and opportunities to contribute could be limited. But, what if Thompson takes the qualifying offer of $6.8 million?

The Cavaliers could save about $29 million in luxury tax if Thompson takes the qualifying offer and they’d still have his bird rights next summer and could outbid any other team for his services – assuming, of course, he would still be willing to talk to them.

What’s really going on in Cleveland is anyone’s guess, however, the speculation that it’s the Cavs that won’t pony up another $1.2 million to start over their original rumored offer just seems ridiculous. Maybe Thompson is quietly pushing for a trade? Maybe the rumored offer was never really on the table? Maybe the Cavs just don’t want a backup player to cost them over $50 million for next season?

One thing is certain, this situation will get resolved, but neither side has any reason to rush things now. The only event pushing things from Thompson’s side is the upcoming FIBA Americas tournament starting August 29th where he is supposed to be a big part of Canada’s push to secure a spot in the 2016 Olympics. Thompson wants to play for Team Canada this summer and in any negotiation, it usually takes some pressure point to get a decision made and a deal done. In the meantime, it’s just hurry-up and wait.



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

photo credit Paul Saini Fylmm.com



Tristan Thompson with superfan MoVernieAre The Raptors Waiting For Tristan Thompson To Come Home?

A local boy — he was born and raised in the Toronto suburb of Brampton — Thompson had grown up as a Raptors fan. Now Thompson is a restricted free agent and the Cavs are having a hard time signing him to an extension. Could it be because Thompson harbors a desire, like LeBron James, to come home? By Michael Hobson



Tristan Thompson with superfan MoVernie

Are The Raptors Waiting For Tristan Thompson To Come Home?

By Michael Hobson

Two seasons ago the Cleveland Cavaliers were a lottery team. They had the first overall pick which they used on Andrew Wiggins and the Toronto Raptors were involved in a tense playoff match with the Brooklyn Nets. Among the two thousand or so fans outside in Jurassic Park watching game seven on the big screen was the Cavs Tristan Thompson. A local boy — he was born and raised in the Toronto suburb of Brampton — Thompson had grown up as a Raptors fan. Now Thompson is a restricted free agent and the Cavs are having a hard time signing him to an extension. Could it be because Thompson harbors a desire, like LeBron James, to come home?

This past season, which saw the Cavs go to the NBA Finals, was Thompson’s coming out party. LeBron insisted the Cavs sign Thompson to a long term contract and it appeared it would occur, especially since LeBron’s agent is also Thompson’s agent. But something happened during negotiations. The Cavs thought they had an agreement on a five year $80 million extension however issues arose that have put contract talks on hold.

What issues occurred? Nobody knows since nobody’s talking, but it is interesting to note that Thompson has consistently rejected signing long term deals with Cleveland.

The Cavs offered a four-year $52 million deal before the season began — which Thompson rejected, purportedly to wait for the off-season and bank on his ability to increase his value with his play. He succeeded. Thompson was a valuable performer during the Cavs playoff run; he was offered more money and more years. Yet Thompson still has not signed.

Could Thompson be forcing the Cavs’ hands? Could he be angling for an opportunity to sign with the Raptors? Toronto has made numerous changes this off-season but the one hole they have yet to fill is starting power forward. Are they waiting until Thompson’s contract negotiations are finalized before making a decision on who should fill that role?

Thompson could go the Greg Monroe route. Monroe was not happy in Detroit and asked the Pistons to trade him after the 2013-14 season. The problem for Monroe was that at the time he was a restricted free agent just like Thompson is now. Not wanting to stay in Detroit and not having the leverage to force a trade Monroe signed a one year deal and then this off season became an unrestricted free agent. Monroe signed with Milwaukee.

Thompson could follow the same path and sign a one year deal with Cleveland. He would then be an unrestricted free agent after next year when the salary cap is expected to rise substantially. Toronto would certainly have the cap room to sign Thompson to a long term deal. But Thompson may be pushing the envelope this year, not wanting to wait another season to sign with his home town team.

For their part the Raptors could have signed Thompson to an offer sheet, but being restricted, the Cavs would have the right to match and they likely would. The Raptors have obviously decided not to make the contract offer, knowing the Cavs would match and eliminate any chance of acquiring Thompson, unless through trade, for the length of the contract.

The Cavs are well over the salary cap and over the luxury tax threshold as well. Cleveland’s ownership has shoved all their chips into the middle and are going for it all. Cleveland re-signed all their major free agents and will be paying heavy into the luxury tax for many years unless they dump contracts. The Cavs have been forced into this situation in order to keep their franchise player happy. The Cavs want a title. Cleveland has not one professional sports title since the football Browns won the NFL title in 1964 and, with LeBron, their time is now.

Cleveland is further ahead than Toronto. The Cavs are among the favorites to win next year’s title and went to the Finals while the Raptors are coming off a disappointing post season of four straight losses in the opening round. Cleveland wants to win the title while the Raptors are simply seeking some post-season success. Winning a round would be satisfactory to Raptors fans but would be a major disappointment for Cleveland.

It would seem that Thompson’s best route is to follow Greg Monroe’s path and sign a one year contract with Cleveland. He would then have all options available to him next off-season and wouldn’t be restricted.

In the meantime the Raptors wait. The best options to fill their starting power forward spot are gone unless they go the trade route.

Could a trade be worked out between Cleveland and Toronto for Thompson? Certainly, but I have a hard time believing the Cavs would simply surrender and move Thompson.

The Cavs do have some roster duplications. They have two starting centers in Timofey Mozgov and Anderson Varejao. If they re-sign Thompson, they will have two starting power forwards along with Kevin Love and this is where Thompson’s concern for playing time enters the picture. The Cavs signed Love to a monstrous five year deal meaning Love will be the starting power forward in Cleveland for the next five years leaving Thompson to come off the bench. Thompson obviously views himself as a starter, and rightfully so.

But the Cavs are being greedy. They want it all, at least for next year, and are willing to pay through the nose to ensure their chances at winning the title. If it means paying big money to a back-up then so be it. The difficulty for Thompson is that coming off a successful post-season run his value may never be higher. It may actually sink next year if he is coming off the bench and playing limited minutes and of course there is always the injury concern.

Thompson wants his future to be settled now. The Raptors would love to have Thompson on their team. For both to realize their dreams of a union they may have to wait one more year. Cleveland will not let Thompson go; they have his rights for one more year and fully intend to exercise those rights. They don’t care about Thompson’s wishes; they only care about winning a title. And keeping LeBron happy.


Michael Hobson, Sports columnist and author
Follow him on twitter @mhobson12



warming-up Tristan Thompson by MoVernieA Door Opens For The Raptors To Pursue Tristan Thompson

If the Cavaliers all-but-in-name general manager Lebron James isn’t insisting on Tristan Thompson’s return and simply wants to win as many NBA Championships as possible, he may have looked at the Cavs roster and realized his team needs some more depth – preferably players that aren’t as old as dirt and might actually be useful at some point.




Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

Should The Toronto Raptors Pursue Tristan Thompson?

After a very disappointing season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are open for business and just one of the many young players that could be available is Toronto’s own Tristan Thompson.

The fourth overall draft pick in 2011, the Cavaliers forward is just 23-years old and has nearly averaged a double-double during his first three seasons in the NBA. The Raptors should be all over any opportunity to pick up this kid, shouldn’t they?

That depends.

Thompson entered the NBA as a much younger version of a player the Raptors already have on their roster, Tyler Hansbrough. An undersized power forward at 6’ 7.5” without shoes, but the plus 7’ wingspan and decent enough vertical jump to make up for it, Thompson is just slightly shorter and slightly longer than Hansbrough. Both were known for drawing fouls and rebounding coming into the NBA and neither player has shown much of a mid-range game let alone any range out to the three-point line. They both have to hustle to get points.

Both Hansbrough and Thompson averaged just over 47 percent from the field last season and scored almost all of their points either in the paint or from the free throw line. They both shot just under 70 percent from the stripe. The younger Thompson did show some potential as a jump shooter in limited attempts, however, hitting 36.6 percent from midrange.

On the boards, both players pulled in about 10.5 rebounds per 36 minutes and neither player was much of a shot blocker. On a per 36 minute basis, Hansbrough and Thompson averaged a double-double last season.

A possible Cavaliers rationale for trading Thompson would be the type of contract he may be able to command if he averages the solid double-double that playing him around 36 minutes per game next season is expected to produce. The bigger reason could be the team as constructed can’t win and the Cavaliers need to make changes. For comparison, Toronto can retain Hansbrough for $3.3 million next season and Hansbrough isn’t likely to command more than that in his next contract. Thompson earns $5.1 million next season and his qualifying offer is $6.8 million for 2015-2016.

The bigger issue for the Raptors is the style of play Head Coach Dwane Casey likes to play. Almost immediately upon his arrival Patrick Patterson was taking minutes from Hansbrough. Patterson has range past the three-point line, provided better rim protection and could cover multiple positions on the floor because he can play away from the basket at either end of the court. At this point in his career, Thompson is not going to be taking minutes away from Patterson and Patterson is expected to be backing up Amir Johnson next season.

Should the Raptors take a run at acquiring Thompson from the Cavaliers? It doesn’t seem like it, but that depends on how they project Thompson’s development and how much the Cavaliers demand in return. It isn’t easy to evaluate a player on a bad team with inconsistent coaching and questionable chemistry.

Obtaining a Canadian player who could become an eventual starter on the Raptors is a worthy long term objective, however, as with any trade, there has to be a perceived net benefit and it could be hard to put a player like Thompson, who started every game last season, into a backup role in the year before his rookie contract runs out.

Price, chemistry issues and available playing time could all conspire to keep the Raptors from pursuing the Thompson, however, Cleveland needs to make changes and Toronto may see a potential starting Canadian forward. This is just one more situation to watch between now and the draft and possibly through the summer.


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