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Report: Tristan Thompson holdout may go into regular season

Contract negotiations between forward Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers remain at a standstill, and his holdout could extend for months.

Contract negotiations between forward Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers remain at a standstill, and ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst believes Thompson’s holdout could extend for months.

“I actually believe it will probably go months,” Windhorst said on Zach Lowe’s podcast. “This will go well into the regular season....I think it will take a third party event to bridge the gap here.”

Thompson, who is a restricted free agent, has been embroiled in a contract dispute with the Cavs for most of the off-season. The Cavs extended him a one-year qualifying offer, which would have enabled him to enter unrestricted free agency next summer, but Thompson did not sign the deal by the deadline.

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After appearing close to signing a five-year, $80 million deal, Thompson began asking for a max deal of five years and $94 million. Thompson’s agent, Rich Paul, reportedly lowered the request to three years, $53 million, which did not interest Cleveland.

The fourth-year forward has a few options now that the deadline has passed. He can sign a deal with Cleveland anywhere from one to five years, or Thompson could seek an two-to-four-year offer from a different team. Because Thompson is a restricted free agent, the Cavaliers would have the right to match any outside offer and keep him in Cleveland.

If Thompson waits out the season without signing, he would become a restricted free agent again next July, which in theory gives Cleveland some leverage in negotiations.

- Chris Chavez and Rohan Nadkarni