Tristan Thompson shares intimate details from immediate aftermath of his suspension

4 Min Read
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson recently revealed intimate details on what transpired after the NBA handed him a 25-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

“When they told me, I was kind of surprised,” Thompson said. “But it is what it is. Not going to look in the past. The guys have been great. They held it down and supported me.”

Thompson also said that he took full responsibility for his actions that resulted in his suspension.

“I held myself accountable,” Thompson said regarding telling his teammates about the suspension. “I told them something happened where I’m going to have to miss some time, so guys have to come in and be big for us. Next man up. That’s part of being a leader. At the end of the day, you have to lead through the good times and bad times. Whether you’re in the right or wrong, you always lead, and you can’t waver. I had to show the guys that’s how it is in Cleveland. We take accountability. We hold ourselves to a high standard. If we fall, we have to get back up.”

Thanks to his lengthy suspension, Thompson hasn’t played for the Cavaliers since January. But he seemingly hasn’t lost the respect of the Cavaliers’ locker room, as Donovan Mitchell revealed that he now has even more respect for Thompson after the big man violated the league’s policy.

“It was tough to see him get emotional,” Mitchell said when asked about Thompson’s speech in which he revealed his suspension to the team. “Tough to see your brother go through that. T.T. is my guy. He’s a hell of a person. We ride for our brother. People are going to say what they’re going to say but at the end of the day, he’s a human being.

“It takes a lot of courage to stand up there and speak in front of teammates and hold yourself accountable like that. I gained even more respect for him. A simple apology would have been fine. But he went and explained it. We will welcome him back when he comes back.”

While not the same player he was in his first stint with the Cavaliers, Thompson has still served as an effective interior scorer and rebounder in limited minutes in the 2023-24 regular season. Across 36 games and zero starts, he is averaging 3.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 64.9 percent from the floor.

In his last game before his suspension against the Orlando Magic on Jan. 22, he totaled four points, five rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal while shooting 2-of-6 from the field and 0-of-2 from the free-throw line.

The play of Cavaliers big man Jarrett Allen of late has helped make Thompson’s extended absence more manageable. In the month of March, Allen is averaging 18.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on 54.6 percent shooting from the field.

Prior to reuniting with the Cavaliers in the 2023 offseason, Thompson played the first nine seasons of his NBA career in Cleveland after the organization drafted him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Thompson was one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA in his first stint with Cleveland, as he averaged more than 3.0 offensive rebounds per contest eight times across his first nine seasons.

Share This Article
Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.