With limited options, Cavs can justify giving Tristan Thompson a big contract

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Editor's Note: This column, originally posted in August, has been updated to reflect the Cleveland Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson agreeing to a five-year, $82 million contract on Wednesday.

The Tristan Thompson contract negotiations had to be a first in modern NBA history: a protracted showdown over the services of a player who averaged 8.5 points the season before hitting free agency.

I know better than anyone that scoring average is a poor measure of player value, but more comprehensive metrics paint Thompson in little better light, at least in terms of his desire for a maximum-level contract. And yet there was still reason for the Cleveland Cavaliers to fear Thompson departing via restricted free agency next summer. Let's break down Thompson's value, first to other suitors and then to the Cavaliers in particular.