The Cavaliers are holding firm on a five-year, $80 million contract offer, while Thompson is seeking a five-year, $94 million max deal. There have been rumblings that Thompson may sign his $6.78 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer when the cap goes up, and his agent, Rich Paul, has said that the big man won’t sign a long-term deal in Cleveland if he signs the qualifying offer.
Windhorst says there isn’t much optimism on either side in terms of getting a deal done, although that could change over the next week. Perhaps there’s a compromise that can be found. Perhaps the Cavaliers give in and just wind up giving Thompson that max deal he covets.
Cleveland could also just take the chance that Thompson and Paul are bluffing about leaving next summer, let him sign the qualifying offer and then make a bigger contract offer next season. That may be a risky play, but having Thompson on the qualifying offer for this upcoming season would help ease some of the luxury tax burden.