The hottest name on the buyout market reportedly won’t even hit the buyout market.
Yet, Thompson apparently won’t enter free agency this season.
David Aldridge of The Athletic:
League source says there will be no buyout for Tristan Thompson in Cleveland, and that he will play out the season with the Cavs before hitting free agency this summer.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) February 6, 2020
Teams often say they’ll refuse to buy out a player… then buy him out. But that posturing typically occurs before the trade deadline. After, there’s no leverage to be gained with other teams that might try to trade for the player.
Perhaps, the Cavs are angling to convince Thompson to relinquish more of his $7,331,859 remaining salary in exchange for freedom to choose a new team. I wouldn’t completely rule out a buyout.
But this sounds pretty definitive.
I wonder whether Thompson’s trade desire was more about transferring his Bird Rights elsewhere than leaving Cleveland. Now that he’ll either have full Bird Rights with the Cavaliers or nowhere this summer, maybe he’d rather spend the rest of the season in Cleveland and leave the door open for re-signing on a big contract.
If Thompson wanted out for other reasons, keep an eye on his attitude the rest of the season.