INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Tristan Thompson has gone from boxing out to holding out.
He’s taken his contract standoff with the Cavaliers to another level.
The backup power forward declined to sign a one-year, $6.8 million qualifying offer for this season and didn’t report to training camp Friday as the Cavaliers practiced at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Despite optimism from the Cavs and LeBron James that a deal could be reached, Thompson remains at odds with the team over a long-term deal. Thompson had until 11:59 p.m. EDT Thursday to accept the offer, but let the deadline pass and the Cavs chose not to extend it.
Cavs coach David Blatt joked that he was sleeping when the deadline came and went. He was adamant that he will not allow Thompson’s contract to become a distraction for his team.
“We got a veteran group,” he said. “We got a very professional group of guys going about their business and going about their jobs the way that they should. The team is working and we are going to continue to do so. We’re just back at it. We’ve got to focus on the now and here and that’s what we’re doing.”
Thompson’s holdout is the second obstacle the Cavs have already faced in camp. Guard Iman Shumpert underwent surgery on his right wrist earlier this week and will be sidelined for at least three months.
An elite rebounder who knows his role, Thompson was a key contributor during Cleveland’s run to the NBA Finals last season, filling in when starter Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder. Thompson and his representatives believe he deserves a maximum contract. And while the Cavs value Thompson, they aren’t willing to go beyond what they’re comfortable offering.