Tristan Thompson’s qualifying offer expires, still no deal with Cavs

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We’re all going to have to wait a little longer for the standoff between the Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson to be resolved. His $6.7 million qualifying offer went unsigned as it expired at 11:59pm on Thursday, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.

The qualifying offer expiring means there’s almost no way Thompson could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. His options now are as follows:

  • He can still sign an offer sheet with another team until March 1, and the Cavs would have matching rights. The only teams with the cap space needed to sign him to a max-level offer sheet are the Blazers and Sixers, neither of whom have shown much interest so far.
  • He can sign a deal with the Cavs, but he’s at the mercy of whatever they decide to offer him. And they have no incentive to give him the max contract he’s been demanding, now that he doesn’t have the qualifying offer to hold over their heads as an early out.
  • He could simply sit out the season, but then he would become a restricted free agent again next summer (assuming the Cavs make another qualifying offer), and we do this all again in a year.

The only way Thompson could hit the open market is if the Cavs offer him a one-year deal, which they have zero reason to want to do now that his leverage is gone. Unless they eventually cave and offer him the full max, it’s hard not to feel like Thompson’s agent, Rich Paul, overplayed his hand here and ultimately hurt Thompson in the long run.