The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed center Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.
“Tristan embodies every trait we want as part of our team culture, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring his experience and character back into our franchise,” said Altman. “His impact both on and off the court is immeasurable, and his history with our team adds a layer of familiarity, leadership and physicality that will undoubtedly make a positive impact with our younger players. An integral part of our four consecutive NBA Finals trips and an NBA Championship in 2016, Tristan represented the organization with the utmost charm and professionalism during his nine seasons in Northeast Ohio. We are thrilled to reunite with Tristan and welcome him and his family back to the Cavaliers family.”
Thompson (6-9, 254) played a vital role during the Cavaliers’ four straight NBA Finals appearances from 2015-2018, including the franchise’s first-ever NBA championship in 2016. He returns to Cleveland, where he spent his first nine NBA seasons (2011-2020), appearing in 619 regular season games (429 starts) with averages of 9.4 points on .518 shooting from the field and 8.7 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per contest. Selected by the Cavaliers as the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and at the time was the highest drafted Canadian-born player in league history, Thompson still ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders in offensive rebounds (second, 2,115), total rebounds (third, 5,393), defensive rebounds (fifth, 3,278), blocks (sixth, 447), games played (seventh, 619) and minutes (eighth, 17,373). His 447 consecutive regular season games played from Feb. 10, 2012 to April 4, 2017 remains the longest streak in Cavaliers history. Additionally, Thompson holds the franchise record for most offensive rebounds in a single season with 306 in 2012-13.
The 12-year NBA veteran center last played for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he appeared in six playoff games during the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Over his career, Thompson has played in 730 regular season games (478 starts) for Cleveland, Boston, Sacramento, Indiana and Chicago with averages of 9.0 points on .519 shooting from the field and 8.4 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per contest. An All-Rookie Second Team selection in 2011-12, the University of Texas product has averaged at least 8.0 rebounds on eight occasions, including back-to-back campaigns averaging a double-double for Cleveland during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. With 5,839 points and 5,393 rebounds with the Cavaliers, Thompson is one of only four players in franchise history to accumulate at least 5,000 points and 5,000 rebounds, joining LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Brad Daugherty.
Thompson, who started all 21 postseason games during the Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA title run, has played in 94 playoff games (70 starts) over his career, averaging 7.1 points on .562 shooting from the field and 7.8 rebounds in 26.9 minutes. Thompson is also the Cavaliers’ all-time postseason leader in offensive rebounds (287) and ranks second in franchise playoff history in total rebounds (666), third in defensive rebounds (379), third in games played (78), fourth in blocked shots (63), ninth in points scored (598) and ninth in field goals made (224).