NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: James: Re-signing Thompson ‘No. 1 objective’ for Cavs — The Cleveland Cavaliers spent their offseason doing their best to keep their Eastern Conference championship team together. The only players lost from last season’s crew are Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller and Kendrick Perkins and, given the additions of Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson in free agency, Cleveland is perhaps even stronger than it was at season’s end. Yet the Cavs have yet to reach a deal with power forward Tristan Thompson and that has star LeBron James concerned. Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio News Group has more:
LeBron James said signing Tristan Thompson to a long-term contract was the “No. 1 objective” for the Cavaliers right now, but stopped well short of blaming the team for the stalemate in negotiations with Thompson.
“He’s a huge part of our team,” James said Thursday at Cedar Point, where he unveiled a partnership with the University of Akron for inner-city children in his LeBron James Family Foundation to go to college for free.
“Short-term and long term he makes our team more dangerous,” James said of Thompson. “Things need to be worked out from his side and the Cavs but we need him back. He’s an important resource.”
James also said the Cavs’ “front office has done a great job. The next step is to get Tristan done.”
His words are significant because of his relationship with Thompson, a restricted free agent who is represented by James’ agent, Rich Paul.
James also spoke for the first time about his famous pool-side chat in Los Angeles with Kevin Love prior to the start of free agency.
Love had said publicly he would return to the Cavs, but after signing his new deal placed great importance on that meeting with James. The two had some awkward moments last season — their first together in Cleveland — with James calling out Love for not having more of a team attitude.
“We just talked everything out and a lot of stuff was very honest and we came to a really good place and we agreed on a lot of things,” Love said in a video posted to the Player’s Tribune website. “So I think that was also a very big deal when, you know, you’re talking to the best player in the world.”
James said Love “wanted to have a sit down with me and talk about everything.”
“He wanted to talk about the season, what could happen with the team going forward,” James said. “I was absolutely open to it. I was one of the people that wanted him there when we made the trade last summer. The fact that he committed to us let me know the type of guy we have. I think he’s going to be great for us. I think he’ll be an All-Star this year and a much more vocal part of team this season.”