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.