Could the Charlotte Hornets consider Tristan Thompson in free agency?

Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Heading into the 2020 free agency period, would the Charlotte Hornets consider looking at a center who’s an NBA Champion?

As the league searches for a plan to resume the season, the Charlotte Hornets continue to receive more time to think about the 2020 offseason. This year’s offseason will be a lot different due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, free agency will still be a period to keep an eye on.

A position to watch as the Hornets enter the offseason will be at center. When the 2020 offseason begins, the Hornets will potentially be losing Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez, as they are both set to become unrestricted free agents.

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While it’s unclear if Charlotte will re-sign one of these centers, the team may still look at upgrading the position in free agency or the draft. If the Hornets plan on targeting another spot in the draft, the team could consider taking a look at Tristan Thompson.

Thompson, who is a nine-year veteran, has spent his entire career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. During that period, Thompson started in a total of 429 games, while averaging 9.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

He even won a ring in 2016 when the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in the finals. During that championship season, Thompson started in all twenty-one games that he played in.

Moreover, after receiving a huge 5-year $82 million dollar contract in 2015, Thompson is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. So far, it’s unclear if the Cavaliers plan to re-sign him since the team traded for Andre Drummond at the trade deadline this year.

Furthermore, Thompson is having one of the best seasons of his career this year. After playing in 57 games this season, Thompson averaged 12.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. In total, Thompson managed to finish the season with 25 double-doubles before the NBA’s hiatus.

As Thompson became more of a consistent scorer and rebounder this season, he also managed to add the three-point shot to his game. Thompson never hit a three-pointer in his first eight seasons; however, he’s already made nine of them and has shot 39% from deep this season.

When we look at the Hornets’ current situation, the team is in dire need of help on the glass. Charlotte currently ranks 25th in the league in rebounds per game, which makes them one of the worst teams in the league at rebounding.

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Thompson has been inconsistent with his rebounding throughout his career, but he has now turned a corner and has become a consistent rebounder. According to Basketball-Reference, Thompson accounted for 18.6% of the Cavaliers rebounds when he was on the court this season.

Thompson has also managed to improve with his increased minutes. He averaged 30.2 minutes per game this season; this is seven more minutes than Cody Zeller and almost ten more than Bismack Biyombo, who both shared time as the team’s starting center this season.

The Hornets are set to head into the offseason with about $30 million in cap space, so with that in mind, would the team consider signing Thompson if he’s available? Based on his previous contract, I can only see this happening if the Hornets are able to sign him to a decent deal.

Since the Hornets have begun getting rid of ridiculously high contracts, the team may not be very eager to take a chance on a player in free agency. However,  Thompson could prove to be valuable if he could continue to improve next season.

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The Charlotte Hornets have many options heading into the 2020 free agency period, but Tristan Thompson would be an interesting prospect to look at. No matter what the Hornets do, the offseason will be a little different due to the new direction the team is moving in.