One of the biggest storylines of the NBA offseason had been the Tristan Thompson contract issue.
All summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the power forward could not come to terms after Thompson refused an extension and a qualifying offer.
The two were at a gridlock until it was announced that Thompson had been signed to a five-year $82 million contract - a move that left some superstars in shock.
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The (back-up) power forward has just broken past the Cavs' defense to get himself a slam dunk contract. The deal makes Thompson the sixth-highest paid power forward in the league.
Ready to Go
While speaking to the press on Friday, Thompson mentioned that he was ready to go. He said that in the midst of the negotiations and the preseason he has been preparing both mentally and physically.
“I’ve worked hard, put myself in this position and I’m happy (the contract) got taken care of,” said Thompson on Friday.
“I’m just glad to be back with my teammates and my guys I go to war with every night and get the season rolling.”
With Thompson back on the team, he will serve as a back-up to Kevin Love. Thompson is a well-rounded player who has exceptional defensive and offensive rebounding skills, along with stability.
This combination gives Cleveland a frontcourt that can be played around with and a frontcourt with a solid amount of depth.
Throughout the regular season, Thompson averaged eight points a game with eight rebounds as well.
Granted he was a back-up and didn't get nearly as much playing time. When Kevin Love hurt his shoulder and Thompson started the last 15 postseason games for the Cavaliers he saw his PPG go to 9.6, rebounds go up to 10.6 and even an increase in blocks where he was averaging 1.2 per night.
He didn't stop there as he has nine double-doubles in the playoffs. In 14 of those 15 games, he had rebound numbers in the double-digits. Though the Cavaliers didn't walk away with a championship, Thompson played an important role in where the Cavs were able to reach.
The Next Five Years
The contract obviously means that not only are the Cavaliers expecting things from Thompson, they believe in him.
To give $82 million dollars to someone who hasn't seen too much playing time and someone who could be found on the bench frequently in the previous season, says something to Cavs fans, the rest of the NBA, and Thompson himself.
He must recognize the trust the Cavs have in him and according to CBS Sports' Matt Moore, Thompson will have no problem progressing moving forward, saying that at just 24, Thompson will only get better as he plays into this contract.
To further reaffirm what he meant to the organization, Cavs general manager David Griffin said this:
“We literally can deal with anybody in the frontcourt the way we’re built when we have Tristan in the fold. We have something for every type of big man that we’ll come across. I think he just completes us in that way.”