The Cleveland Cavaliers are working to bring back Tristan Thompson on an extension this summer, but contract talks remain far apart and this comes as JR Smith remains an option to come back, but if that doesn't happen, the Cavs could look at a Jamal Crawford trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for bench depth to help LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
The Cavaliers and Thompson have been talking all offseason and while reports had the sides close early in the summer, a deal did not come to fruition. According to ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst, the talks with Thompson have made "no real progress" and that the sides are currently in a "stalemate" about a new deal. Thompson is a restricted free agent and Windhorst reports that he is looking for a max deal near $90 million over five years from Cleveland.
Reports earlier in the summer had Thompson and the Cavs looking at an $80 million deal, but a contract never came close to getting done. Thompson is in an odd position and Windhorst writes that his situation has "no clear precedent" and that is why the two sides have seemed to hit a wall. Thompson is not a starting player with Kevin Love also in Cleveland, but LeBron James wants Thompson around and since he has the same agent in Rich Paul, it looked like things would be able to get worked out eventually.
The Cavaliers are still interested in signing back JR Smith and Sam Amico of Fox Sports reported that the Sixers have shown some interest. Amico added that the interest has "dwindled" since earlier in the summer and that the Cavaliers are "letting the market determine" what happens with Smith. There is a chance another team could come in and sign Smith, but right now he has not found a good fit on the market. Smith averaged 12.1 points per game for the Knicks and Cavs last season and if he does not sign back in Cleveland, the team could look at making a trade instead. Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Jamal Crawford would be open to playing for the Cavaliers if he is traded from the Clippers.
Thompson reportedly will consider signing his one year qualifying offer at $6.8 million, which would make him a free agent next summer. According to Michael Grange at Sportsnet, Thompson "will not return" to Cleveland if he ends up signing the qualifying offer over an extension. The Cavaliers have spent a ton of money this summer with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert, Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova getting deals and now Thompson is the last main piece on the market.
Grange writes that "negotiations are ongoing" and that Thompson's agent Rich Paul said that Thompson's "last year with the Cavs" would come if he ended up on the qualifying offer. Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the choice about the qualifying offer "hasn't been decided yet" for Thompson. Last season Thompson averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and he stepped up when Love went down for the playoffs against the Celtics and missed the finals.