NBA: Thompson agrees to new contract with Cavaliers
Cleveland, United States—Tristan Thompson agreed to a new contract Wednesday with the Cleveland Cavaliers, ending the most significant player holdout just days before last season’s NBA runners-up open the 2015-16 campaign.
The Cavaliers, sparked by superstar LeBron James, agreed to a five-year deal worth $82 million for the 24-year-old Canadian power forward, according to multiple newspaper and television reports.
“It’s been a long summer of grinding and hard work but now it’s back to The Land to take care of some unfinished business,” Thompson tweeted with the hashtags HappyToBeBack and ALLin, the latter being the Cavaliers’ catch phrase during last season’s drive to the Eastern Conference crown.
James had said signing Thompson to a long-term contract was a key priority of the team and the Cavaliers came through just six days ahead of the team’s opener against Chicago.
Thompson had been a starter for every game over two seasons until James arrived last season and brought a whirlwind of changes, including forward Kevin Love and big man Timofey Mozgov. But after starting only 15 regular-season games, Thompson made 15 starts in the playoffs and played a vital role when Love went down with an injury.
The Cavaliers, as a result, will likely have the NBA’s highest payroll when the season begins next week at around $115 million.
Thompson rejected a contract extension for four years at just over $50 million before last season to test his value as a free agent, but his work through the season made him too valuable for a title-hungry club such as the Cavaliers to let escape.
James arrived last year from Miami vowing to bring Cleveland it’s first NBA champion. He nearly made good on he promise in the first season but fatigue and injury wore down the Cavaliers in last year’s NBA Finals, when Cleveland lost to the Golden State Warriors.