The Cavaliers will be the preseason favorites to come out of the East next year and return to the Finals, but that's assuming all of the key pieces from last season return at 100 percent.
Right now, a big piece of the puzzle in Tristan Thompson remains unsigned.
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Thompson is holding out for max money, somewhere in the neighborhood of $94 million over the next five years. The problem for Cleveland is that if they agree to that this summer, they're looking at a luxury tax bill in excess of $46 million just for next season; if they can hold off giving Thompson that max deal just one year, they'd be in a far better position because the salary cap is going to spike 30 percent or so, which would drastically reduce any tax dollars due.
Thomson is a restricted free agent, and could play out the upcoming season on a one-year qualifying offer, and then become an unrestricted free agent next summer and really cash in. But his agent says Thompson won't return to the Cavaliers if that's the route his client is forced to go.