Cavs' free agency plans start with Thompson, but exploring all options

Sam Amico

While the Cavaliers don't figure to be major players in free agency, they aren't going to sit on the sideline entirely, either.

Free agency is expected to begin in late November, or more likely, the first week of December and the Cavs will boast one of the biggest names in this year's market.

That would be none other than Tristan Thompson -- and you can be sure, when it comes to free agency, Thompson will be the Cavs' first order of business.

Right now, it's too early to say what will happen with the veteran center. All we know is that GM Koby Altman said the Cavs and Thompson share a mutual interest in reuniting. 

Now, that sounds more promising that it probably is -- as Thompson is sure to have multiple suitors, and the Cavs likely won't want to break the bank. After all, Andre Drummond is expected to exercise his massive player option and Drummond just happens to play the same position as Thompson.

Translation: If Thompson returns to the Cavs, it will be in a backup role. And rebuilding teams don't fork over loads of cash for reserves.

None of this is to say the Cavs intend to be cheapskates with a player they cherish, a player who always gives his all, a player who has the respect of his teammates and coaching staff.

But Thompson himself told SI.com he understands this is a business, and that whether or not he returns will be a business decision for everyone involved.

"I got drafted here and I won a championship here. I have great memories here," Thompson told SI. "I am a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and it is my job to punch the clock and come to work every day for the organization. That is how I approach it."

Basically, a Thompson reunion with the Cavs is very much up in the air, and probably 50-50 in terms of odds. Not bad, not great, just somewhere in between.

EVERYONE ELSE

The other key free agent on the roster last season -- veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova, who like Thompson, is a fan favorite. Also like Thompson, Dellavedova's career started with the Cavs.

In the eyes of most players, that counts for a lot. 

But Dellavedova won't be a high priority for the Cavs. They do love his leadership and moxie, and willingness to do whatever the team needs, from playing meaningful minutes to being little more than a practice body, and everything in between. All the while, Delly never utters so much as a single complaint.

Still, if the Cavs feel they can acquire upgrade, they won't hesitate, sentimental feelings be darned.

As has been reported previously and was again Thursday, the Cavs are expected to take a long look at Miami Heat swingman and NBA Slam Dunk champion Derrick Jones Jr.

He won't be their sole focus, though. Far from it.

The Cavs are also expected to monitor and perhaps make a run at free agents such as forward/guard Josh Jackson (Memphis Grizzlies), small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Dallas Mavericks), shooting guard Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks) and several others.

Overall, Altman and his staff are likely to focus way more on the draft and trades to help push the team forward. But they know they will have some decisions to make -- and some opportunities -- in free agency, and they undoubtedly have already begun their research in that area.

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