The above headline is absolutely insane.
Now I know that it is partly misleading, because Tristan Thompson’s $82 million contract is spread out over 5 years, and Delly signed his $1.2 million deal for just 1 year. But still. $80.8 million???
The difference is still tangible. If Thompson and Dellavedvoa both suffered career-ending injuries before the season even starts, Thompson would walk away with his full $82 million, while Delly would have to ration from his measly-in-comparison $1.2 million.
The question is, why did Thompson get so much more than his Cavs teamate? After all, he can’t score unless he’s 4 feet from the basket, he can’t really guard every position (he will have trouble with 7 foot centers, and I don’t buy it when people say that he was able to guard Steph Curry for moments during the Finals), and he isn’t the world’s best passer.
What is his skill exactly? Well, it’s 2 things: offensive rebounding and possessing a motor to play for long stretches of the game with high energy, which is definitely valuable. But not $82 million valuable. I discussed Thompson’s agent Rich Paul’s strategy for negotiating on Thompson’s behalf on a recent podcast.
Now compare Tristan to Dellavedova. Delly is similar in that he too is a defensive hound, and can lock down opposing players’ offensive games. And, even though he’s not a starting caliber offensive talent, Delly can knock down jumpers and 3’s.
So now the real question is, why did Delly get so much less money?
There are two reasons:
- Delly is gambling on himself this year. Technically, he could have probably gotten a 3 year deal for $9 million total, most likely. But reports surfaced that Delly wanted $4 million a year, and the Cavs (correctly) didn’t budge. So Delly took the 1 year qualifying offer and is essentially betting on himself.
- He had less leverage. When the Cavs acquired Mo Williams, they basically sent a message to Delly saying “hey – you are a nice role player and had some big moments for us, but we can move on without you. Take a deal soon or you might not get anything at all”. Unlike Tristan Thompson, who had leverage due to Kevin Love and Anderson Varejau’s spotty injury history, Delly couldn’t gamble like that. He had to take what he could get, and hopefully he will get enough playing time to earn that big contract he was looking for.