With Kevin Love out of the lineup for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavaliers are relying on Tristan Thompson to start at power forward for the remainder of the playoffs. He has stepped up in Love’s absence. Thompson is averaging 8.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game throughout the playoffs and has started in eight out of the thirteen playoff games. Thompson led the team in blocks this season and is averaging 1.3 blocks per game in the playoffs which os .6 blocks per game then his regular season total.
Tristan Thompson does the dirty work for the Cavaliers. He sets screens to get players open on the perimeter. He grabs offensive boards leading to second chance points. Most importantly, he has tightened up the Cavaliers defense. He plays his heart out and LeBron James notices. LeBron realizes the Cavaliers are better with Tristan Thompson in the lineup and after Game 3 James told reporters “Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for the rest of his career.”
During the regular season, Thompson averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Thompson played in all 82 games during the regular season and hasn’t missed a playoff game. He was a valuable bench player for the Cavs and was at best the third scoring option whenever he was on the court. Quietly, Thompson was consistent all season.
Earlier this season Thompson rejected a 4 year/$52 million contract extension from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He wasn’t happy as a bench player and knew he was starter worthy on multiple teams around the NBA. He thought the Cavaliers wanted Kevin Love to be their future power forward. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson will be unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Now the Cavaliers have a decision to make: Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson? Kevin Love was involved in rumors he was leaving Cleveland all season. The fact that LeBron announced he wants Thompson over Love for the future leads me to believe Love will leave. Also, Rich Paul is Tristan Thompson’s agent who is also the agent of LeBron James.
Tristan Thompson now has trust from LeBron James. LeBron likes players who play their heart out and do whatever it takes to win. Thompson is a great teammate and is focused on helping the Cavaliers win an NBA Title. LeBron has leverage with the Cavaliers and if he wants Thompson on the team he can make that happen. Who wouldn’t want to play on the same team as the best player in the NBA. Thompson is cheaper and plays a better role then Kevin Love. Tristan finally feels respected after playing in the shadows all season. Thompson this offseason may rethink his next contract negotiation with the Cleveland Cavaliers.