Latest posts by Don McCormack (see all)
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Tristan Thompson’s eyes and ears are just fine, thank you.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ big man admits he’s read and heard the buzz about him possibly being used as trade bait as first-year general manager Koby Altman explores options to possibly upgrade the roster.
As the Cavaliers (26-16) have continued to struggle as the calendar flipped to 2018, the rumor mill — with his name front and center — has really cranked up.
Thompson said he is not concerned about rumors, though.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he told reporters in Indianapolis on Friday, where the Cavaliers dropped a 97-95 verdict. “At the end of the day, you only control what you can control. That’s when (Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue) calls me in the game, go out and play hard and compete.
“That business side, people get paid to do that stuff. I get paid to be out there on the court and compete and do my job. Guys get paid to make decisions and move pieces around.”
The 26-year-old said players be traded is just part of the life that comes with being an NBA player.
“For me, seven years in the league and seeing guys get traded and just understanding the business of basketball, it doesn’t faze me at all,” he said. “I know what I need to do, just play and be myself.”
The 6-foot-9 Thompson, the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft by Cleveland, has played better of late as he’s worked his way back after missing 20 games over a six-week period because of a strained calf.
While his scoring is never going to be his calling card (Thompson is averaging 5.3 points per game this season), his rebounding certainly is. He’s hauled down seven or more boards in six consecutive games. He’s averaging 5.8 rebounds in only 19.1 minutes per game this season, the fewest minutes he’s played, on average, in his seven seasons in the NBA. Per 36 minutes, Thompson is averaging 10.9 rebounds a game.
Lue played him at crunch time down the stretch in what ended up being a two-point game Friday night against the Pacers, a contest the Cavaliers led by 22 points in the first quarter.
“It feels good, but at the end of the day, it’s about matchups,” Thompson said after the loss. “We had something good going on in terms of putting (the Pacers’) Al Jefferson in pick-and-rolls. There’s going to be games where it’s going to be like that, there’s going to be games where the shooting is opening up and coach wants to space the floor with four out and have (LeBron) attack the rim.
“Different games present different kind of matchups in the fourth quarter. Just got to be ready. I know where to be when it’s time to get a stop.”