The NBA’s most unnecessary saga is over.
Impasses like this happen in every sport, but usually they’re with an athlete closer to the caliber of Russell Wilson. Though the Seahawks signal-caller might be annoying with his intentionally boring quarterback-speak, the leverage battle between the two-time defending NFC champs and their most important player was compelling.
Less so was the game of chicken between Thompson and the team that drafted him fourth in 2011. As seen with other players like Golden State’s Draymond Green, the discrepancy was the player and agent wanting their full max, with the front office scoffing at that, seeing as the player could not go get such a deal with any other franchise.
Thompson, like Green, ended up with $82 million over five years, a shade (well, at least in this industry it’s a shade) more than the $80 million they could have gotten elsewhere. The front office gets to claim a win because they didn’t fork over the max, while the agent puts a feather in his cap for squeezing out a couple extra million for their client.
As for the on-court impact, Thompson’s return could play a key role in the same way his presence did in last year’s playoffs. Kevin Love is not yet back from shoulder rehab and center Timofey Mozgov is still complaining of knee pain, not to mention perimeter players Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert are out and LeBron James has already received a back injection that was intentionally timed for the end of the preseason.
This only adds to the sky-high luxury tax burden for owner Dan Gilbert, though it figures to be money well spent, as with new faces in the fold (Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson, Sasha Kaun), Thompson’s versatility should continue to prove vital for a roster that may very well be continuously adapting to who’s available on any given night.