Prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers indicating that they wouldn’t offer Tristan Thompson a buyout for the remaining portion of his contract, former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce made an on-air plea for Thompson to push for one and then sign with Pierce’s former team.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 7, 2020
“Tristan, you are the one player that can put the Boston Celtics over the top,” Pierce said during ESPN’s trade deadline program on Thursday. “Taking a couple extra less millions is worth it, buddy. I’m telling you, it’s worth it”
Amid laughter from host Rachel Nichols and doubt from fellow panelist Brian Windhorst, Pierce explained why Thompson would be such a good fit.
“I’ll tell you, that would put ’em over the top,” Pierce said. “That’s just what they need, a physical presence, a veteran leader, a champion.”
The Celtics have struggled this season to fill the gap left by the team’s former center, Al Horford, who left the team in free agency last summer.
While the Celtics entered Sunday’s action with a 36-15 record, their ability to go deep in this year’s playoffs could end up being based on their ability to fill that hole.
Thompson was a part of all four Cavaliers teams that reached the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2018, which included the 2016 title team.
Always been a strong rebounder during his NBA career, the 28-year-old Thompson but has picked up his scoring punch this season. Entering the Cavs’ Sunday night game, he’s averaging 11.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Thompson is in the final year of the five-year contract he signed in 2015, with many questions surrounding his future with the Cavaliers.
Conceivably, Thompson might end up wearing Celtics green at some point, but it won’t be until next season at the earliest.
Until then, Pierce will have to root for the current Boston big men to contribute more on the court.