The guarantee on center Tristan Thompson‘s contract remains through early January, when the Cavs will have a decision to make. Right now, it seems as if the choice would be obvious.
Thompson brought some serious energy and helped turn around the game in the third quarter vs. the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. More than that, he’s been a leader in both the locker room and on the court. That’s been the case even when he doesn’t play.
Cleveland signed Thompson to a one-year, partially guaranteed deal for the veteran’s minimum over the offseason.
Thompson, 32, is the lone member on the current roster that was a member of the 2016 championship team.
“There’s a reason why he’s made it this long in this league,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. “The dude impacts winning in a way that most people can’t. And it’s, not a score, not a, whatever it may be. But it’s just a gritty, tough, nasty thing that nobody else is willing to do, and it just makes a difference in winning. And his teammates need that from him. I couldn’t be more proud of him, but, we’re so fortunate to have him here with us.”
Thompson implied he’s just doing what he always does. He brings a physical presence, goes after every rebound at both ends, and just basically annoys opposing big men.
“Do your job,” he told Bally Sports after the Cavs beat the Raptors. “They broke the glass and pulled me out of the cage. … Just make an impact. That’s what I’m here to do. On the court, off the court, on the sideline, in the game.
“So let’s keep the good time going and I’m going to try to help out where I can.”
Thompson spent the first decade of his career with the Cavs, who selected him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He then served brief stints with the Celtics, Kings, Pacers and Bulls — before going unsigned all of last season, until the Lakers picked him up to help with a playoff push.
The Cavs (9-8) face the Atlanta Hawks in the final game of the In-Season Tournament group stage on Tuesday. They need a win and some prayers to get into the knockout round.