CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There was a time ... not that long ago ... that Tristan Thompson got paid. Big money in line with the league's best big men. 5 years, $82 mil. Draymond Green money. And of course, Thompson would help the Cavs rally against Green and the Warriors in the Finals that season, owning the boards in two of their four wins that earned 'em a title.
Those were the days.
These days, his $18 mil a year doesn’t put him in the top 10, among centers or power forwards, and if he plans on cracking that list again, it likely won’t be with the Cavs.
It’s not that he’s not worth it. He brings it every night, giving you a double-double (12 points, 10.3 rebounds), and at least on the surface, appears to be the one vocal leader that a young team that questions its older, first-time NBA coach ... John Beilein turns 67 tomorrow ... desperately needs.
“Y’all better find them names ‘cause I’ll pull up on ‘em right now,” Thompson said in early December, after teammates reportedly questioned Beilein’s coaching methods. “You can’t do that s–t. At the end of the day if you’re going to build a culture and a family, you can’t have that Chatty Patty s— going on."
A few days later, Thompson was seen screaming at Beilein on the sideline.
So who knows what’s really going on behind the scenes, and even if Thompson has Beilein’s back, he still reportedly wants out, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
Can you blame him?
The Cavaliers are a bad team (13-38) seemingly getting worse while saddled with a few fat contracts that they’d love to unload. They can’t do anything about Kevin Love’s $120 million deal ... he just signed it. But they can move Tristan and his expiring deal.
It benefits everyone to do it.
The trading deadline is two days away. It’s more likely than not that Thompson will be on the move.
Meantime, Beilein continues playing the hand he’s been dealt. And you wonder if, in a few months, he’ll even be part of the plan, too.