The Cleveland Cavaliers are working to keep Tristan Thompson this summer on a contract as a restricted free agent, but negotiations remain far apart and this comes after LeBron James said to the media that he hopes Thompson remains with the Cavs long term. Reports have the Raptors as a potential landing spot for Thompson and this comes as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are recovering from injuries for Cleveland.
Thompson is the last remaining major free agent for the Cavaliers on the market and reports have the two sides not close in contract negotiations. According to Cleveland.com, Chris Haynes reports that Thompson and his agent Rich Paul are asking for a max contract and so far the Cavs have not been willing to meet that price. Thompson's max would be a $94 million deal and previously the Cavaliers offered a five year deal worth $80 million, which was rejected.
Haynes writes that there has been "limited to zero communication" between the two sides because of the "tremendous gap" in what they are looking for. Last week it was reported that Paul and Thompson were seeking a max deal and no less and could consider signing the one-year qualifying offer from the Cavs. Paul thinks that a max contract is on the market for Thompson, potentially from the Toronto Raptors, and that if Thompson doesn't sign a long term deal now, he will leave the Cavs.
Brian Windhorst reported in August that the sides were at a "stalemate" over talks, as Thompson's situation does not have a clear "precedent" to work from. Thompson is talented and young, but he is not a starter with Kevin Love there and Love also just got a max contract. The Cavs may not want to spend that much money on one position and that could cause Thompson to take his qualifying offer and heading into unrestricted free agency.
James also has Rich Paul as an agent and that could get the sides closer, but Paul will be working in the best interests of his client no matter what. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported that Thompson rejected the five year deal at $80 million, as his camp felt that other players got more money that were comparable players to Thompson. Adding to the intrigue is the report from Ric Bucher at Bleacher Report, as he writes that Paul could be holding out to get a max contract in free agency next summer, with the Raptors as a possible target.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were both injured in the playoffs this season and the players are working on coming back from those injuries. Love injured his shoulder and reports have him ready for the start of the regular season. Irving could be out for a stretch, as Chris Haynes reports that the Cavs will be cautious in bringing back Irving from his knee injury.