Amico: Five potential destinations for Cavs center Thompson

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson drives to the basket during a game against the Raptors.

General manager Koby Altman has already indicated the Cavaliers and center Tristan Thompson share a mutual interest in a reunion. So we can go ahead and list the Cavs as a potential destination for the unrestricted free agent.

But for Thompson, the Cavs won’t be the only consideration. He will have plenty of suitors once the market opens, presumably in late November or early December.

What makes Thompson so appealing? Well, for starters, he doesn’t need the ball to make a major impact. He has won a championship and he is always a great fit next to the team’s biggest stars.

His penchant for offensive rebounding keeps possessions alive and can demoralize the opposition. He takes great pride in using his length to defend on the perimeter and while he prefers to start, he plays just as hard when he’s relegated to a reserve role.

If Thompson and the Cavs can’t come to terms (I’d say it’s 50-50), here are five potential destinations that make sense:


This may be the Cavs’ biggest threat. Former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was just hired as the Clippers’ main man. They have a pair of stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Big man Montrezl Harrell is an unrestricted free agent, and his possible departure could create some cap space. Thompson also has a home in LA.

He could slide right in, assist Lue in spreading his coaching message, gobble up rebounds and provide the underrated energy he gave the Cavs during their runs to four straight Finals.


Thompson is a native of Brampton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. He holds the region close to his heart, and NBA fans in the region clearly have admired him for a long time.

A move like this would require a small pay cut, at least in salary. But he would immediately turn into the Raptors’ main fan favorite and he would be home. In other words, Toronto definitely has some appeal, and when that’s the case, players, agents and teams tend to make things work.


I know. This one will make Cavs fans gag. But with the expected returns of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson … well, Tristan Thompson would be the perfect fit.

That’s especially true when you consider the Warriors were atrocious on the boards last season. The last thing opponents want is Steph and Klay getting extra possessions, and that is very thing Tristan would provide.

From the Cavs’ perspective, the Warriors have some nice young talent and the No. 2 overall pick. Sign-and-trade, anyone?


Like the Raptors, the Heat would have to pull off some financial trickery to get Thompson. But again, in the NBA, where there’s a will there is quite often a way.

Thompson in Miami would be a scary proposition, with the ultimate hustle player adding another element to a team that basically scratched and clawed its way to the Finals. And imagine everyone’s frustration when Thompson snared an offensive rebound and handed the ball off to Jimmy Butler for another shot to score.


Yeah, I saved the champs for last. But we all know LeBron James loves to bring in former teammates who are familiar with this remarkable work — especially former teammates such as Thompson, who has LeBron’s respect.

It probably wouldn’t hurt that, like James and Anthony Davis (and a few other Lakers), Thompson is a Rich Paul client. So while the Lakers aren’t likely to be loaded with cap space, LeBron and his team of representatives have a way of making things work out.

Others worth considering: Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets.

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of Amico Hoops. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for both Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and

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