Report: Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson near five-year, $80 million contract

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The Cavaliers have locked up Kevin Love.

Now they are on the verge of solidifying their front line for the next few years at least.

As had been expected, the Cavaliers and power forward Tristan Thompson are nearing a new five-year contract, something first reported by Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

This signing was going to happen for a couple of reasons. There are the on-the-court reasons — Thompson showed his value after Love’s shoulder separation, where his offensive rebounding and energy were at the heart of the grinding style that got the Cavaliers to the Finals. Thompson averaged 13 rebounds — 5.7 of them offensive — and 10 points a game in the Finals, plus he played strong defense. Thompson doesn’t create a lot of offense, but the Cavs don’t need him to. What he does do he does at an elite level and it works in the Cavaliers offense.

The other reason this was going to happen: Thompson and LeBron James have the same agent. LeBron’s little hold out game — he opted out and has yet to negotiate his new max deal with the Cavaliers yet — was about getting Thompson, and ideally Love, under contract.

Look for the Cavaliers to try and add more depth around this core, but with these moves and guys like Kyrie Irving getting healthy, this much is clear:

The road to the NBA Finals out of the East — and maybe to the Larry O’Brien trophy itself — goes through Cleveland for the next few years. At least.