The Tristan Thompson lockout is officially over. Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday agreed to a five-year $82 million deal, ending the stalemate dating to July that caused the Power Forward to miss training camp and the entire preseason.
Rich Paul, Thompson’s agent, confirmed the story to ESPN.com before Thompson took to Twitter with the following message: “It’s been a long summer of grinding and hard work but now it’s back to The Land to take care of some unfinished business. #HappyToBeBack #ALLin.”
Thompson, a restricted free agent entering offseason, has been seeking a five-year max contract of $94 million or a three-year deal worth $53 million. The Cavs previously offered him a five-year deal of $80 million. Also, Thompson turned down a four-year, $53 million prior to the last season. Since Thompson had declined the qualifying offer, and set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, it was widely speculated that Thompson would sit out the entirety of the 2015-16 season and start afresh with a new team next year. Fortunately for the Cavs, the holdout is done with.
It’s difficult to ignore the LeBron James effect in this deal. Remember, LeBron and Tristan share the same agent and are very close friends both on and off the court. LeBron had urged both sides to work out an agreement, calling the situation “a distraction for a championship contender.”
The Cavaliers enter the new season with an all-time high payroll of $108 million in player salaries. They are also in line to pay in excess of $60 million in luxury tax. Since the Cavs have only 14 guaranteed contracts, the massive tax bill won’t be calculated until the end of the season.
Thompson, 24, was integral in Cavs reaching the NBA Finals last season, averaging 9.6 points and 10.8 rebounds through the playoffs. After Kevin Love went down with a shoulder injury, Thompson thrived in the starting role and drew comparisons with the great Dennis Rodman for his ability to collect truckloads of offensive rebounds and play lockdown defense. Thompson lead the league with an astonishing 4.4 offensive rebounds per game during the postseason.
The Cavs are scheduled to open the 2015-16 NBA Season on October 27 against arch-rivals Chicago Bulls. Thompson is expected to join his teammates as early as Thursday.