Forward Kevin Love hopes that isn’t the case.
“He’s just so valuable for this team and this organization so I would really hope, really hope that he's back,” Love said Friday during a Zoom conference call with reporters.
When Love arrived in the summer of 2014 from Minnesota, he was well aware of what Thompson brought to the floor.
“I had battles against him,” Love said. “I was one of the guys that he had to keep me off the glass and keep him off the glass, we were gassed every time we played against each other. So I was super excited to be able to, you know, 3-4-5 with Bron, Tristan and myself, just beat teams up on the glass and outrebound teams. So that was something I was super excited about, but then I got to see the evolution I his game and as a leader on and off the floor, just how fun he is to be around. He’s another guy that is infectious to be around and you know has really grown to be like a brother of mine.”
Thompson will be a free agent this offseason after completing the final season of a five-year, $82 million deal.
“I love what Tristan brings,” Love said. “He's a guy that has had a little few nagging injuries, but for the most part, is incredibly durable. You know what you're gonna get with him.
“You know, I don't believe that he's a three-point shooter. He has some moments this year that were hilarious in their own light, but he just works extremely hard. You know he lets his effort and that motor do so much for that.”
Thompson is the only other starter outside of Love from the 2016 title team remaining on the roster.
The fourth anniversary of the Cavaliers completing their historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to end a 52-year championship drought for Cleveland is less than a week away, and the bond formed that June within the locker room hasn’t faded.
“We have a group chat with a number of guys, we've had it going for so long now.” Love said.
ABC and ESPN have aired Game 7 of that series multiple times during the basketball layoff which allowed members of that team to reconnect once again.
“We were just breaking down the game and going back and forth and just reliving it,” Love said. “’Cuz that's a bond that will really never be broken. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that you know we had come back from from3-1 and you know won away from home and ended that 52 year drought, so that's something that will always be you know right there top of mind that you can never take away from us.”