Tristan Thompson is ready to go on Tuesday when the Cavs tip off against the Bulls in the United Center at 8 p.m. EST on TNT. Cleveland’s ultra-athletic sixth man isn’t negatively impacted by his lengthy holdout during the offseason, which ended when he agreed to a five-year, $82-million contract extension.
In fact, in a weird way, Thompson’s holdout actually may have been a positive. According to Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, Thompson looks to be in fine shape heading into the season.
He’s fresher than his teammates. You can tell by the way he’s jumping out of the gym during post work. Blatt said Thompson is typically full of energy anyway, but said initially he would be careful with his newly signed power forward’s workload.
Thompson agrees with Haynes, as he reportedly said that he’s “ready to play” and that he’s willing to do “whatever my team needs” against Chicago. Of course, Cavs coach David Blatt is a little more cautious about using Thompson right off the bat.
“We have to see how he responds physically,” Blatt said. “He’s picking our stuff up well and we know what Tristan brings to the table. He’s a very important player for us, but he’s going to be very much a work in progress from the beginning.”
Thompson’s value to the Cavaliers is larger than his per-game numbers may allow, as we all saw when he admirably filled in for an injured Kevin Love during the 2015 postseason. In 23 playoff games (15 of them starts), Thompson averaged 9.6 points and 10.8 rebounds while shooting 55.8 percent from the field for the Eastern Conference champions.