“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.
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