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The Cavaliers are no longer in any big hurry to trade Tristan Thompson but that hasn’t kept opposing teams from asking.
According to several league sources, the Cavs have taken a few calls on their starting center, who has become a solid rock of a leader and teammate in an otherwise lost season.
Thompson has embraced the team’s rebuilding effort, continuing to play hard and making an impact — despite a losing streak that reached a league-high 12 games before Sunday’s road win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Cavs have been impressed with how Thompson has directed his younger teammates on the court and been a voice of reason in the locker room. Despite all the losing, Thompson has been dedicated, supportive and continues to display endless amounts of energy.
It’s a far cry from last season, when the Cavs and their fans questioned Thompson’s focus during the regular season.
Opposing teams are noticing Thompson’s play this year as well — a big reason why they’re suddenly dialing up Cavs general manager Koby Altman despite Thompson’s rather large contract.
He is earning $17.5 million this season and $18.5 million next.
But teams are seemingly starting to overlook all that cash, given Thompson’s averages of 11.7 points on 53 percent shooting and 11.2 rebounds. He has also been working tirelessly to improve his free-throw shooting (he’s up to 65 percent, his best percentage since 2013-14) and remains a dogged defender.
While sources did not provide specifics on which teams the Cavs have spoken with, it is believed they are hearing from teams in actual contention.
Thompson is a native of Canada and the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors have been interested since the Cavs selected Thompson with the fourth overall draft pick in 2011.
The Houston Rockets also just lost center Clint Capela for at least a month with an injured thumb, and have already spoken with the Cavs a few times about exiled shooting guard J.R. Smith. (Though it is believed most of those conversations took place before Smith was told to go home.)
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers are others who may be interested.
But that’s all speculation at this point.
All that is really known is Thompson has remained upbeat and productive in a season that’s all about finding players for next year and beyond.
And it’s become clear that the Cavs (9-35) aren’t the only ones who find it admirable.