Tristan Thompson has hit a new low — and it has nothing to do with his off-the-court cheating allegations. The once-important piece of the Cavaliers’ Finals runs, Thompson, a former lottery pick, was benched in the 100-97 Game 2 Eastern Conference first-round win against the Pacers. Thompson, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic were the only Cavaliers players to not register a single minute Tuesday night. Osman and Zizic aren’t shocking exclusions — the duo are both young Europeans with zero playoff experience — which makes Thompson’s benching pretty telling. Especially considering his relationship with LeBron James, who essentially orchestrated Thompson’s five-year, $82 million extension in 2015, when he publicly pushed for a Thompson contract while the two shared an agent. In 2015, it seemed like a win-win — the Cavaliers were winning and James was happy. Now Thompson is cemented on the Cavs’ bench, and that contract will saddle the Cavaliers’ immediate future whether James is a part of it or not. The Cavaliers owe him $36 million the next two years before he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Prior to the playoffs, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said he envisioned using a deep, 10-man bench for the playoffs, which would seemingly make Thompson, a member of the Cavs’ last four Finals runs, an option off the bench, especially with his playoff experience. However, the extended bench doesn’t reach Thompson, with his only appearance coming in two garbage minutes in the 98-80 Game 1 loss.
Tristan Thompson is officially $36 million worth of useless
New York Post | Apr 19