According to David Griffin, the Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, the Cavs have extended qualifying offers to Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert, and Tristan Thompson. This will make them restricted free agents, enabling the team to match any offer sheets the players are given.
As the NBA’s free agency period is right around the corner, this is an important first step for the Cavaliers’s off-season. All three players were instrumental in this year’s postseason, contributing on both ends of the floor.
When Cavs star guard Kyrie Irving fractured his left knee in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Dellavedova and Shumpert were called to step up in the backcourt. Dellavedova brought his trademark toughness and grit, scrambling on the floor for loose balls as well as playing a role in defending the NBA’s MVP, Stephen Curry. Moreover, what Dellavedova brings for the Cavs cannot be seen in the box score—he only averaged 4.8 PPG and 3.0 APG for the season.
Shumpert also contributed mainly on the defensive end of the floor, guarding players such as Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry; Shumpert averaged 9.1 PPG and 1.3 SPG in this year’s postseason.
Along with Dellavedova and Shumpert contributing in their roles, Thompson stepped up. When Kevin Love injured his shoulder in Game 4 of the first round against the Boston Celtics, Thompson became the team’s starting power forward. Thompson was arguably the team’s most important player in the playoffs—next to LeBron James of course—as Irving was struggling with knee and foot injuries. Throughout the playoffs Thompson brought tenacious rebounding, enabling the Cavs to gain possessions in critical moments. He averaged 10.8 RPG and 4.4 offensive rebounds per game.
Even though all three players are important for the Cavs’s success, Thompson is arguably the most important one to re-sign for next season. Thompson is reportedly seeking a max level contract, which could have a strong ripple effect on the Cavs’s off-season. The Cavs are also looking to bring back Love, who has recently opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.
Moreover, there is debate over whether Thompson or Love is more important to the team. The re-signing of Thompson will be a hot topic for the Cavs this off-season, as it could have an impact on how the organization’s off-season plays out.
As the Cavs head into the league’s busiest time of the year, the extension of the qualifying offers to Dellavedova, Shumpert, and Thompson is important. However, there are other factors that could make or break an important free agency period for the Cavaliers.