Conference Rivals Show Interest in Former Bulls’ Big Man

Tristan Thompson

Getty DeMar DeRozan and Tristan Thompson during a February 28 game agains the Miami Heat.

Despite the Chicago Bulls showing no interest in bringing back an 11-year veteran to their team, Tristan Thompson may soon find himself on another team.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported that the Brooklyn Nets were said to be focused on Thompson to be their backup big man for next season.

The Nets are looking to add a veteran backup center, league sources told HoopsHype. One free-agent center to keep an eye on is Tristan Thompson, HoopsHype has learned.

The big man would back up Nicholas Claxton with the Nets, and reunite with mercurial guard Kyrie Irving. Both were part of the 2011 NBA Draft, and Irving was selected first while Thompson was picked fourth by the Cavaliers.

Thompson finished out last season playing 23 games for the Bulls in a backup role, averaging about 16.3 minutes off the Chicago bench. He was highly productive in those limited minutes, averaging 12.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.

He played nine seasons with the Cavaliers, helping them win a championship during the 2015-2016 season.

Even though Thompson has limitations on the court, he still has a knack for rebounding at a high rate even though he is older. He has managed to carve out a decade-long career simply by being a serviceable big man.

Rest of League Starting to Take Shape

Kevin Durant requested a trade out of Brooklyn just hours before free agency kicked off on June 30. It severely hindered a lot of teams’ movements throughout the offseason. The Bulls for one went about their business resigning Zach LaVine to a 5-year max contract worth $215.2 million.

On August 23, the Nets publicly announced that they were no longer looking to trade Durant and planned to move forward and compete with him on the roster next season. Since then, transactions have started to take shape around the league. With Durant out of the mix, teams can now use their tradable assets to go after other players on the market.

Hence, it is not surprising that the Nets are now looking to finish building out their roster around stars Durant and Irving. If Thompson does not end up in Brooklyn, expect other teams around the league to gauge interest in the big man.

Bulls’ Interest in Durant

There were never any credible reports showing the Bulls seriously considered acquiring Durant. Already equipped with DeMar DeRozan and LaVine, the Bulls did not have the type of proposal other teams had to entice the Nets to pull the trigger on any Durant scenario.

Durant on the Bulls would have catapulted them into contending status, just like anywhere else he would have landed. The issue was that there was not too much flexibility with the Bulls’ roster to facilitate such a trade for the superstar.

The Bulls are essentially running it back with a similar roster to last season. In terms of Chicago’s success, it comes down to guys staying healthy and being available around the playoffs. Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso were key pieces to Chicago getting off to a hot start last season. Despite the star power the Bulls have, they will need to figure out how to stay on the court for the remainder of the season.

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