Cavaliers Report – The Return of Tristan and Camp Without PG Rubio

September 15, 2023

Tony Camino

2016 champ returns to Cleveland with new-look squad

Completing the bench lineup for the upcoming season, Koby Altman and the front office have chosen to bring back a familiar face to the locker room: Tristan Thompson. The ironman starting center from the Cavs’ championship runs returns after his recent playoff stint with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Averaged 9.4 PPG/ 8.7 RPG on 51% shooting in Cavs’ career
  • Started all 39 playoff games in 2016 & 2017
  • Played in 447 consecutive games from 2011-2017

At 32 years old, Thompson is likely past his prime as a dominant rebounder. He did show flashes of his capabilities during the recent postseason, but he now serves more as a veteran depth piece for the team. Isaiah Mobley and Damian Jones are expected to see the majority of minutes in the big man role off the bench this year, although either Evan Mobley or Jarrett Allen will likely be on the court most of the time.

With Kevin Love’s departure, Thompson’s addition is significant as it brings someone from the magical 2016 championship run back into the locker room. Given this new generation of Cavs players, having both Love and Thompson around to help bridge the gap with this young team is crucial. These veterans achieved the seemingly impossible against one of the best teams ever, and having their experience and leadership in the locker room is an important addition this offseason.

Thompson will primarily serve as an emergency big man, but his intangibles off the court bring as much value as you could hope for from the 14th man on the bench. It will be exciting to see him back in the wine and gold this year, and hopefully, he can bring some of the success and fire from all those postseason runs he was a part of.

Eyes set on camp, figuring out how to replace Rubio

The training camp roster is now full at 20, following the final signings of Pete Nance, Sharife Cooper, and Justin Powell. After the conclusion of training camp, which begins on October 3rd, the Cavs will need to reduce the roster to 15 players. Since there haven’t been any on-ball guard additions to replace Ricky Rubio, the Cavs are likely to rely on Caris LeVert as the primary ball handler off the bench. Undrafted rookie Craig Porter Jr. could see some minutes in a pinch, and shooter Ty Jerome can step in when needed. The point guard market is one that the Cavs are likely to monitor throughout the season in search of a reliable veteran who can provide a calming presence off the bench.

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