Just five days ago, there had reportedly been no discussion between Tristan Thompson and the Cavaliers on a contract extension.
That escalated quickly.
As the clock ticks toward Friday’s midnight deadline, there is a sense of optimism the Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson will come to an agreement on a contract extension, multiple sources with knowledge of the talks said.
“We’d like to sign Tristan long-term to the Cavaliers. I don’t think that’s any secret,” owner Dan Gilbert said Wednesday. “I believe they’d like to do that as well. So we’ll hopefully see what happens this week.”
The Cavaliers – as displayed by conflicting pre-draft reports – are masters of disinformation. Perhaps, they truly didn’t begin contract talks with Thompson until the last few days and are now optimistic. More likely, one of those reports is wrong. I have no idea which, though.
With one (potentially major) exception, Thompson’s extension is a complicated matter.
For one, all rookie-scale extensions are complicated right now. The salary cap is slated to skyrocket under the new national TV contracts, but nobody yet knows what effect, if any, cap smoothing will have on next season, when the extension would kick in.
The Cavaliers’ two best players, LeBron James and Kevin Love, can also become free agents either this season or next. LeBron isn’t leaving, but Love could, so Cleveland might not want to eat into 2015 cap space already.
Anderson Varejao, who is starting over Thompson, is also negotiating an extension with Cleveland. On a veteran contract, Varejao could sign his extension anytime until June 30. As the markets get set, one extension could affect the other.
But it’s possible none of that matters. Thompson shares an agent with LeBron, Rich Paul. Rumors have swirled the Cavaliers, as part of getting LeBron, agreed to give Thompson a big – maybe even max – contract. If negotiations truly went from non-existent to promising in little time, that explanation would fit.