1. Tristan Thompson
Tristan Thompson is arguably the most high-profile name on this list, in part because of him being an NBA champion and his four seasons of playing alongside LeBron James. The Cavaliers have been in the rebuilding stage ever since the departure of LeBron, which is why there have been questions regarding Kevin Love‘s future with the organization.
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As Thompson is in the final year of his contract, you’d have to think the Cavs are open to parting with the 28-year-old big man because he’s surely not part of their future plans. This means he could possibly be bought out, but he could also be traded elsewhere. If the latter happens, the Rockets would have no shot at landing the 6-foot-9 power forward because they simply wouldn’t be able to match his salary of $18.5 million.
The Cavs wouldn’t necessarily receive great trade offers for Thompson because teams know that he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season and can simply wait until free agency to sign him. This could very well force Cleveland to buy him out, which would seem to be of interest to him because it would give him the opportunity to choose his next destination and join a contender.
On the court, Thompson is having a career-year, as he’s averaging 12.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest. Thompson also had a stellar year last season as well, as he went on to average 10.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as well. One of the biggest strengths of the former Longhorn is his ability to grab offensive rebounds, as he’s averaging 4.2 offensive rebounds per game this season, which is second-best in the league behind only Andre Drummond.
If Thompson is bought out, the Rockets would seem to have a good chance to land him, because his former partner in crime, LeBron James, will likely not be recruiting Thompson since the Lakers have plenty of size between Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.