Of the Cavaliers‘ five upcoming free agents, Tristan Thompson is the one they would most like to re-sign for the long term, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes in a mailbag column. Thompson is putting up the best numbers of his career this season, averaging 14.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He is also a team leader whose work ethic serves as a model for a very young roster.
Sources tell Fedor that the team hasn’t had any conversations with Thompson’s agents about a possible extension. The front office believes he wouldn’t be willing to make a commitment now when he stands to get a huge payday next summer.
Fedor notes that the Cavs’ chances of keeping Thompson seem pretty good because most contenders are either set at center or won’t have much money to spend. One exception could be the Raptors, who have Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol with expiring contracts. Thompson is a Toronto native and may be interested in returning home with a more successful organization.
There’s more on the Cavaliers, all courtesy of Fedor:
- Matthew Dellavedova, another impending free agent, will continue to get playing time despite his broken jumper. Coach John Beilein sees him as one of the team’s best defenders and leans on his ability to run the offense with the second unit. Dellavedova is shooting a career-worst 25% from the field and has made just 3-of-31 shots beyond the arc.
- After selecting Collin Sexton and Darius Garland the past two years, the Cavaliers could face a difficult decision in a 2020 draft that filled with small guards. Fedor believes management would be willing to gamble on North Carolina’s Cole Anthony or Georgia’s Anthony Edwards if they believe they are better long-range prospects than Sexton or Garland. Another name to watch could be Israeli swingman Deni Avdija, who is expected to be the first international player off the board. Cavs general manager Koby Altman recently made a trip to see Avdija, and scouting director Brandon Weems is planning to watch his Maccabi Tel Aviv team later this season.
- The Cavaliers’ rebuilding situation will limit their free agency appeal, so Fedor believes the best strategy could be to make a generous offer for a restricted free agent. Brandon Ingram would be at the top of that list, but the Pelicans will likely match any offer to the centerpiece of the Anthony Davis trade. Other options include the Kings‘ Bogdan Bogdanovic and the Suns‘ Dario Saric.