The Cleveland Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson are not close on a contract extension and things could lead to Thompson signing his qualifying offer over a long term deal. The Cavaliers are expected to have Kevin Love back from his shoulder injury by the season opener, while point guard Kyrie Irving could be out until the winter.
The Cavaliers have been one of the most active teams this summer, signing back LeBron James and most of their free agents other than Thompson. The team has been talking with Thompson about a contract for a couple months and the sides reportedly have a wide gap in the numbers they are looking for. The Cavaliers start training camp on September 29 and Thompson has until a few days later to decide on signing his qualifying offer or not.
Love was injured during the playoffs against the Boston Celtics and he missed the finals for the Cavaliers. According to Pro Basketball Talk, Love has been recovering from shoulder surgery and he said that he is "about a month" away from coming back to action. Love likely will be ready for the season opener and it comes after he signed a max contract with the team in the offseason. Thompson stepped in for Love during the playoffs and now Thompson is looking for a max deal as well.
Irving is coming back from a knee injury suffered in the NBA finals and he is expected to be out for a stretch for the Cavaliers. According to Cleveland.com, Irving could be out until January, as the Cavs want to be cautious so that the point guard does not have a setback. Chris Haynes reported that the rehab has been going well for Irving, but that he will miss the start of the season for the team. Terry Pluto later reported that Irving should play "well before January," although no hard date has been set for his return.
Thompson and the Cavaliers have a few more weeks to work something out, but reports have the sides not communicating much over the last month regarding a deal. Earlier in the summer there were reports that Thompson and the Cavs agreed on a five year deal worth $80 million, but that did not end up holding up. Thompson reportedly rejected that deal and reports now have his agent Rich Paul looking for a max deal from the Cavaliers. Thompson may end up signing his qualifying offer for one year, which would make him a free agent next summer.
Last season Thompson averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds and while he has great potential, the Cavs already have Love at power forward. The team may not want to give two max contracts to players at the same position and that could be a main issue in the talks. Paul reportedly thinks the Raptors and other teams are out there willing to give Thompson the max next summer. The Cavs have already signed Love, LeBron James, James Jones, Iman Shumpert, JR Smith and Matthew Dellavedova back and also added Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson and Sasha Kaun.