When LeBron James questioned the Cavaliers' commitment to winning last week -- thus questioning owner Dan Gilbert's commitment to spending -- there was a near-universal counter argument to James' claim: His urging the organization to take care of teammates J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson in free agency the past two summers is a major reason Cleveland is in its current luxury tax bind in the first place. Following the Cavs' 107-91 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, Thompson -- who, like James and Smith, is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports -- had something to say about his role in the controversy. "I earned my money," Thompson told ESPN of his five-year, $82 million extension he signed in 2015. "LeBron's not my agent. I earned my money doing what I do; you can ask anyone around the league. I opened doors for other guys. It's a business, and you get paid what the market value is for you. I got my money and opened up doors for other guys that play hard and do the little things." It was as good a time as any for Thompson to speak up. He just came off his strongest game of the season -- 19 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks (2 of which came on Russell Westbrook) -- as he anchored a Cleveland defense that held the Thunder to 37 percent shooting as a team while Westbrook scuffled through a 7-for-26 outing. "For me, the way I judge a game is what I do on the defensive end," Thompson said. "That's what my calling is, right? So, making it tough for [Steven] Adams, keeping him from getting a double-double, it's a good game. Obviously the scoring, that's extra, that's a cherry on top, that's a bonus. So as long as I take care of what my duty is every night, everything else is extra." The call for everyone to do a little extra on a nightly basis was actually Thompson's response to James' screed from last week, when Thompson cut loose a bit on his own, dropping eight curse words Thursday during a media session that lasted just more than seven minutes.
Tristan Thompson not buying that he hasn't earned money
ESPN | Jan 30