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After holding one of the longest contract standoffs in recent memory, Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers finally came to terms.
According to ESPN, Thompson agreed to a five-year, $82 million deal with the Cavs Wednesday night, ending a three-month standoff since Thompson became a restricted free agent on July 1.
The deal is similar to the five-year, $80 million the two sides were reportedly close to agreeing to earlier in the summer.
However, Thompson then backed off that deal and wanted a five-year max. contract worth $94 million. When the Cavs balked at the price, he also offered an equivalent contract of three years, $53 million, which the Cavs didn’t like, either. The two sides came to an impasse, and Thompson missed all of training camp, with LeBron James calling the entire situation a “distraction.”
It was previously believed that the Cavs had pulled the five-year, $80 million deal off the table, which would have left Thompson at the mercy of the team since he’d have little bargaining power. However, Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported last week that the offer was still on the table, even if the two sides hadn’t really been talking.
According to ESPN, while Thompson took less than he wanted, the deal still tops what many people expected he would get as a free agent.
With Thompson now in the fold, the Cavs have brought back their entire core from last year’s team that lost in the championship. In doing so, they’re spending an enormous amount of money. ESPN says that with the contracts of LeBron James, Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Thompson – all of whom were re-signed this summer – the Cavs have over $290 million in guaranteed money. This season, with contracts, plus taxes for going over the salary cap, the Cavs will likely pay more than $170 million.
For the Cavaliers, though, this is their only choice. They were fortunate to bring back LeBron James and swing trades to bolster his supporting cast. While the price is a high one to pay, it’s worth it for a shot at championship in a wide-open Eastern Conference.