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Why Tristan Thompson, Warriors could be fit in free agency


Is it possible that Tristan Thompson signs with the Warriors this offseason?

You probably shouldn't immediately dismiss the idea, because nobody thought DeMarcus Cousins ever would join Golden State, and 2020 has proven that you should expect the unexpected.

So how would this happen?

Well, Thompson is an unrestricted free agent and could come to the Dubs via the $6 million-ish taxpayer mid-level exception (we are assuming the Warriors will use it).

But won't he get a bigger payday? If we were living in normal times, the answer definitely is "yes." But as noted before, the expectation is that there won't be very much money available in free agency because of the looming financial consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Or perhaps he gets offered the full mid-level exception (around $9.7 million) from a non-contending team, and takes a little less money for the chance to compete for a championship.

It's important to note that the Warriors might not be interested in Thompson whatsoever, or he might be low on their wish list. But Golden State is in the market for a bulkier big man who can provide some resistance in the paint, and the 29-year-old is a better rim protector than people think. Also, when fully motivated and in the right circumstances, he has shown the ability to defend guards/wings on the perimeter -- which is quite essential in today's NBA.

It's very safe to assume that Thompson would be "all in" while rocking a Dubs uniform, as he would be entering free agency again in 2021.

Speaking of "contract year," the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft averaged a career-high 12.0 points per game last season, while racking up the third-most offensive rebounds per game (4.0) in the league. Additionally, he made the first 3-pointer of his career in the Cleveland Cavaliers' second game of the season, and he ended up going 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) from deep.

This brings us to his fit alongside Draymond Green. Sure, it isn't a perfect combination because floor spacing could become an issue. But if they are sharing the court with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors' offense should be able to hum along just fine.

Coach Steve Kerr also can stagger their minutes if necessary, and try different lineups to find the best combinations.

But what about the past beef between Draymond and Thompson? Ah yes. You might remember what happened during the Warriors' 2018 championship parade, when the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year said: "I told one of them dudes on the Cavs. After the game he tried to shake my hand. I said, 'Tristan we ain't cut the same.' "

And you might recall what happened about a month later, when they reportedly got into a physical altercation at a LeBron James-hosted party at a restaurant in West Hollywood.

But as Thompson told Yahoo's Chris Haynes in January 2019: "I got no problem with him. We talk. We talk. It’s cool. He’s got a great situation there in Golden State."

We don't know if the big men would refuse to play together. But we do know that they share the same agent in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, so perhaps fences could be mended if they need repair.

Thompson has spent his entire career in Cleveland, and ultimately could re-sign with the Cavs. That's what Kevin Love wants to see happen.

But their frontcourt is crowded with Love, Andre Drummond and Larry Nance Jr., and the expectation is that Thompson's time in Ohio will come to an end.

In the end, yours truly isn't saying that you should expect a deal between Thompson and the Warriors. But if the 2016 NBA champion does sign with the Dubs, don't act completely blown away.

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