Tristan Thompson reportedly will turn down the Cleveland Cavaliers’ $80 million offer if he’s not given a maximum-level contract, per Sportsnet’s Michael Grange. The 6-foot-9 center instead will accept a one-year, $6.8 million qualifying offer with the team.
The Toronto native will become an unrestricted free agent in 2016 and, according to his agent Rich Paul, who also represents Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, Thompson will not return after 2015-16 if he’s forced to play through the season under the qualifying offer.
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ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Thompson was seeking a max-level deal worth $94 million, far above what the Cavaliers were willing to offer. James, forward Kevin Love and point guard Kyrie Irving already are under large contracts, which gives the team little room to make another big deal for Thompson. The Cavs are projected to be $4 million over the tax line for next season.
The NBA salary cap is expected to skyrocket from $70 million to $88 million after the next season, so the 24-year-old’s best financial option could be free agency if a deal is not reached with the Cavaliers.
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