In his strongest comments yet on the issue, LeBron James called the Cleveland Cavaliers’ contract negotiations with Tristan Thompson ‘a distraction.’
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James was done talking about Tristan Thompson’s contract situation. Then he saw his teammate at a wedding Saturday and changed his mind.
In his most candid comments yet, James called Thompson’s stalemate with the Cavaliers “a distraction” on Sunday and urged both sides to get a deal done.
“The last thing you need is a distraction when you try to make a championship run. And we have that right now,” James said after practice at the team's facility in Independence, Ohio. “It's unfortunate for both sides that we're going through it right now as a team.”
Thompson, who played a major role in Cleveland’s run to the NBA Finals last season, has not reported to training camp as he remains in a holdout for a long-term deal. His agent, Rich Paul, and the Cavs have not been able to reach an agreement over the past few months.
While at a wedding in Miami, James posed for a photo with Thompson that he posted on social media with the caption, “Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother.”
The four-time MVP denied the message was aimed at the negotiations between the Cavs and Paul, who also represents James.
“I’m not going to go to them and tell them what they should do,” James said. “That's their job. They know how to do it very well, and they’ve done that to this point. They’ve brought in and did what they had to do for us to be a contending team. Tristan is a big part of that run we want to make. I believe that something will happen.”
Thompson remains a restricted free agent and can receive offers from other teams.
The Cavs went through a similar situation in 2007 with center Anderson Varejao, who sat out Cleveland’s first 21 games before Charlotte signed him to an offer sheet that was matched by Cleveland.
Thompson made 15 starts in the playoffs last season after Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder in the first round against Boston.