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Tristan Thompson returns to Cavaliers

Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

Free-agent big man Tristan Thompson signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team confirmed Tuesday.

Thompson returns to the franchise that drafted him fourth overall in 2011. He played his first nine NBA seasons in Cleveland, which included a championship run with LeBron James in 2016.

"Tristan embodies every trait we want as part of our team culture, and we couldn't be more excited to bring his experience and character back into our franchise," Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman said in a statement. "His impact both on and off the court is immeasurable, and his history with our team adds a layer of familiarity, leadership, and physicality that will undoubtedly make a positive impact with our younger players."

The 32-year-old has played a smaller role since leaving Cleveland, coming off the bench with the Boston Celtics in 2020-21 and splitting time between the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Bulls in 2021-22.

Thompson didn't suit up for an NBA squad last regular season but signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for the playoffs, reuniting with James. He played six games on the team's run to the Western Conference finals.

Known for his rebounding prowess, Thompson figures to play a bench role behind a young Cavaliers frontcourt featuring Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.

Tristan Thompson returns to Cavaliers
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