The Cavaliers’ statement was an acknowledgment of the contributions that Thompson made to the team after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
“Tristan Thompson represented the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland with the utmost grace and class during his nine seasons in Northeast Ohio,” the team’s statement read. “Tristan embodied everything a franchise would want in a player during his time as a Cavalier. He became a champion, a mentor and a great community partner through his selfless acts off the basketball court.
“Affectionately recognized for his durability, competitive spirit and determination, Tristan was an integral part of our four consecutive NBA Finals trips, culminating in the franchise’s first-ever NBA Championship in 2016. We thank Tristan and wish him nothing but the best, knowing that he has earned a place in the hearts of Cavaliers fans and this organization forever.”
Thompson had reportedly agreed to a contract with the Celtics earlier this month, though that news didn’t become official until Monday’s signing.
This past season, Thompson completed a lucrative five-year contract that he had signed in 2015. There had been some hope of the Cavaliers re-signing the 29-year-old veteran, but no deal was ever forged.
Thompson’s rebounding ability is his main calling card on the court, with defense and durability also helping play a part in helping the Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals for four straight seasons.
While some Cavs fans grumbled about Thompson’s lack of scoring production, his presence on the only championship team in franchise history could make him a future candidate to have his number retired.
That idea was offered by now-former teammate Larry Nance Jr., though any such date is likely years away from taking place.