Rumor: Tristan Thompson on the block this summer

David Griffin has not shied away from the fact that his roster is due for some significant retooling this offseason. One player that could be traded due to a lack of fit moving forward is fourth-year power forward Tristan Thompson. Joe Kotoch of Probasketballdraft.com reports that this is a very real possibility. His veteran post mentor going along with him could also happen.

The Cavaliers have a logjam in the post with Thompson, Varejao, Zeller, and Anthony Bennett all needing playing time. It’s also possible that the team could resign center Spencer Hawes. This frontcourt as currently constructed lacks size, shot-blocking presence, and defensive prowess. While Varejao is the team’s best low-post defender, he continues to struggle when guarding the more physical centers in the league. The Cavaliers likely need to get some more offensive skill and shot-blocking down low if they hope to become a more well-rounded team.

Thompson averaged 11.7 points and 9.2 rebounds this season in 31.6 minutes per contest while completing his second straight 82-game season. His only real improvement came at the foul line where he improved 61% to 69%. Aside from that, Thompson plateaued offensively as he adjusted to switching shooting hands in the offseason. It raised concerns about his long-term potential as a starter. It may be the case that Thompson’s ceiling is an energy first big off the bench. Thompson can be extended this offseason, but his current contract pays him $5.4 million this season with a qualifying offer of $7.2 million next season.  Varejao has struggled to stay healthy the past several years, but he has produced when on the floor. The 31-year-old Brazilian averaged 8.4 points and 9.7 rebounds on 49.5% shooting in 27.7 minutes in 65 games this season. He enters the final year of his contract set to earn $9.8 million, though there is a $4 million buyout on his deal that could serve as instant savings for a cap-strapped team.

Kotoch also added that the Cavaliers could be in on the Kevin Love sweepstakes in Minnesota as he is just one year from free agency. Any package the Cavaliers could put together would likely include both Thompson and Varejao along with draft picks and other assets. The Cavaliers currently have the 9th best odds heading into Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery and are most likely to end up with the 9th pick in a deeper draft than the past few years.

While Kotoch seems convinced the Cavaliers have enough ammunition, I’m not so sure. If a trade would take Waiters as well, it really strips down basically everything on this team not named “Kyrie Irving”. If the Cavs could pull off such a deal while holding onto their talented backcourt, it would be a huge success.

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  • boomhauertjs

    I can’t imagine there’s much market for Tristan since his rookie deal is almost up and he’s a small, limited “energy” guy who doesn’t always hustle. I imagine at best the Cavs could get what they got for Hickson.
    I would make a deal for Love, even without him agreeing to an extension. It would be worth the gamble because a package of Kyrie and Love (and little else) might be enough to convince you know who to come back…

  • DPatton

    “If the Cavs could pull off such a deal while holding onto their talented backcourt, it would be a huge success.”

    I really have to agree with this statement. If we bring over Love and sacrifice everything else to get him, have we really improved? I think the ping-pong balls may determine the strength of our offer. Unfortunately, when we need the luck the most, it looks like it’s most out of reach…

  • Harv 21

    Re moving Tristan, fine, a new GM gets to view players as they are as he takes the cold scalpel to the roster, without the baggage of hoping the guy pans out. But not even sure what Tristan would bring, given that the “energy guy” had so many power outages the last two seasons.

    Re Kevin Love sweepstakes … what? Griffin must build a better roster, so he’s not going to give up the 9th overall, future first rounders and maybe Dion for a probable one-year rental of Kevin Love. Not when Kyrie may be eying an exit as well. That would be General Manager hari kari.

  • RGB

    What does LeBron think?

  • mgbode

    if we (or anyone below Detroit) gets a top3 pick, Detroit has to give up their selection in this draft. so, we could double-whammy them, which would be fun (just think of SVG’s face when it happens!)

  • steve-o

    Adding superstars to any team should be priority #1. If there is a way to get Love without giving up Kyrie we absolutely have to do it. The players/assets given up generally either are or will turn into mediocre players. Mediocre players can be added in many different ways, and sometimes really good players (or former stars) jump right into your boat like flying carp for a chance to ride the coat tails of other stars.
    That being said, I doubt Love would land anywhere but directly to a T5 NBA market, because that is the NBA way.

  • The only thing is, the Cavs problem when they had LeBron was not having a 2nd All-Star to go with LeBron. Future first rounds, the number 9 pick….none of that really matters all that much. Sure, you MIGHT draft an All-Star at #9, but you know for a fact tha`t Kevin Love is an All-Star. If I was David Griffin, I’d do everything in my power to land Love and pair him with Kyrie and fill in the rest around them as needed.

    Sure, Love might leave after one season. And the #9 pick might be a complete bust like Anthony Bennett, and you might spend money on someone like Jarrett Jack and they might show up as a shell of themselves, etc, etc, etc. Nothing is known, but you have to place your bets behind something. I’d rather bet on a known quantity like Kevin Love and see what happens than just add yet another young, “developing”, “project” player like whoever they get at #9.

    The Cavs don’t need to get any younger, IMO. They need to add real, impact players right now.

  • simond

    What’s the difference between Cleveland and Minnesota for Love?

    If he doesn’t want to be in Minny, why would he want to be in Cleveland?

  • “What’s the difference between Cleveland and Minnesota for Love?”

    For starters, Eastern Conference vs Western Conference. Second, Kevin Love has never played with an All-Star in Minnesota. He would have one in Kyrie with Cleveland.

    If market size is his only concern, then yeah, he’s not going to stay in Cleveland.

  • jeff

    Is there a team picking in the 20s that needs a PF?

  • jeff

    Exactly. I had this same discussion with a friend of mine last week. I said the Cavs probably would trade the #9 pick (and maybe the Memphis and/or Miami pick) for an established player this summer. He nearly pooped his pants he was so mad at the thought. I’d rather have a known player over an unknown 21 year old.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    SVG is also in charge of personnel so if he’s sporting that face Detroit is probably in a worse shape then Cleveland which would be saying something.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Love reportedly listed the Bulls and another team as the two teams he’d most like to play for unfortunately the other team wasn’t the Cavaliers. That being said I’ve been a fan of K-Love for awhile and not just because he appeared in one commercial with Kyrie. The Cavaliers have needed a low post presence since Z and some may say even when Z was playing.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Gotta believe almost the entire roster will be on the trade block. It only makes sense.

  • Harv 21

    So pretend you’re Griffin. You’ve been grooming for a GM job for years. And you’d go all-in for possibly just one year of Love and Kyrie together, while denuding your future pics, and hoping 1) Love re-signs; 2) Kyrie re-signs; 3) Kyrie can mesh with someone else who takes a lot of shots; 4) You can adequately surround them without first rounders in the next few years or much room under your cap.

    Sure it’s absolutely possible, Andrew, but likely only if Dan walks Griffin to the end of the plank and orders him to do it. But this is a haymaker more than a decent strategy. It’s more likely result is that both Kyrie and Love try to put up numbers in anticipation of their contracts and the next year this place looks even more like some sort of post-Stepien basketball Chernobyl.

  • maxfnmloans

    Everyone knows that Kevin Love went to UCLA and wants to get back to California, right?

  • Pat Leonard

    Tristan by himself isn’t worth much. If you package him with Andy (expiring deal) and the #9 pick, then you might have something interesting. I doubt that the “something interesting” is Kevin Love, though.

  • To answer your question, yes, I would. Building through the draft in the NBA is such a myth. Everyone always cites the Thunder as the example, but they are the exception. Landing Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka in successive drafts is a miracle.

    But pairing Love with Kyrie changes everything. Rather than having another offensively challenged frontcourt player that defenses can ignore, they would instead have to consider doubling Love, opening up the offense for Kyrie. Put a couple good shooters on the outside around Kyrie and Love and find a rim protector or two and you are in business.

    I would always rather gamble on a known quantity than the unknown. If Love leaves, the Cavs are no worse off than they would be when their #9 pick likely becomes a role player at best.

  • Yep. Frontcourt offense is something this franchise has so sorely lacked with the exception of LeBron and Z when he was healthy. Love could completely change the way this team looks.

    It’s not going to happen, but man would it be fun.

  • mgbode

    they have been in worse shape due to Dumar’s giving big contracts to Ben Gordon, Charlie-V, Josh Smth, etc.

    moving forward, they would be in much better shape if they can jettison the last year of Smith’s deal and re-sign Monroe to pair with Drummond, which seems better than Kyrie paired with Waiters. their guards are crud, but our forwards are too, so that evens out.

  • mgbode

    PepsiMax would love us too. A huge year of advertising for our team.

  • mgbode

    depends on that unknown. the way it looks right now, I would agree, but it depends on who drops to our slot.

  • mgbode

    better examples of building through the draft: Pacers, Trailblazers, Warriors (though needed defense boosted through trades), Bulls, Spurs.

    the issue is that it usually doesn’t happen as quickly as it did for the Thunder. just like signing FA usually doesn’t result in the Heat forming. those are exceptions. but, a team like the Cavs definitely has a better chance at building long-term success through the draft.

    that said, it’s my generic philosophy. if Kevin Love is available, then you go and get Kevin Love. special talents are only on the market so often. yeah, you’d like to get a guy who is more of a force on both ends, but he and Kyrie would be lethal.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    $hamrok likes Greg Monroe – make it happen! Drummond could have been a Cavalier, ugh.

  • Horace

    Simply amazing. In back to back to back drafts, the best player available for us was a shot blocking, defensively elite center: valanciunas, drummond, noel. Due to the incompetence of Gilbert and Grant, look what we are left with. Any of those 3 guys would be our second best player and a 12 year lock as a starting C.

  • jeff

    Good point.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    First Farmer basically uses your draft board, and now Griffin gets a Top 3 pick which double-whammys Detroit.

    Do you happen to weigh the same as a duck?

  • mgbode

    Julius Ervings reaction was almost as good as if they had cut to SVG (but not really).

    To answer your question, I do not weigh the same as a duck, however I may be described as a particular white rabbit from the same time period (or movie if you don’t believe that was a documentary).

  • mgbode

    interesting. what if we draft Wiggins and sign Monroe? we get low post scoring, a 2-way wing player with incredible upside, hurt Detroit again, and did I mention we hurt Detroit?

    I love it.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    And this means you could trade either Thompson or Varejao or both. I like the plan.