An unpopular former Boston Celtics big man, Tristan Thompson, is certainly not unpopular with the team he just reunited with, the Cleveland Cavaliers — in fact, Thompson is seen as someone who can contribute to the Cavs’ big man rotation “in spurts” off the bench according to King James Gospel’s Dan Gilinsky.
“Thompson still can help Cleveland in spurts in rotational minutes as a backup big,” Gilinsky prefaced before saying, “He can still rebound at a high level at both ends of the floor, set outstanding screens for Cleveland’s perimeter threats, and defensively, he’s still active on the interior and is always going to be a meaningful backline communicator.”
Thompson started 43 of the 54 games he appeared in for the Celtics, but his lone season in Boston, the 2020-21 COVID-19-stricken empty-arena fever dream, sticks out like a sore thumb in the post-Kyrie Irving era as the only postseason that ended earlier than the Eastern Conference Finals. Thompson also, like Irving, negatively influenced his teammates’ attitudes toward winning.
Former Boston Celtics reuniting with a team that drafted him adds a ‘feel-good factor’
There were some humorous tweets/X posts about Thompson’s return to Cleveland, which though not the most impactful signing of the offseason, does feel good considering the Cavaliers were the first team the Texas product played for. As CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney says, there’s just a “feel-good factor” about the transaction.
“There are certainly worse moves the Cavaliers could have made with their final roster spot, and the reunion aspect adds a feel-good factor,” Maloney wrote.
Thompson has Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Damian Jones in the way of playing time at the 5, but being prioritized over the latter big, who is on a minimum contract and could be let go at seemingly any time, isn’t much of an obstacle at all.
The home crowd Cleveland roar could be a major intangible in Thompson’s game, and hopefully allows him to contribute more than he’s been able to since his last Cavs stint.