3 Free Agents Cavs Must Sign Amid Tristan Thompson's Suspension

After Tristan Thompson received a 25-game suspension for violating the NBA's anti-drug program, the Cleveland Cavaliers must try to sign these three free-agent centers.

Blake Griffin is one of three free-agent centers the Cavs must target following Tristan Thompson's 25-game suspension.
Blake Griffin is one of three free-agent centers the Cavs must target following Tristan Thompson's 25-game suspension. / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Dwight Howard

If the Cavaliers can afford to be patient for a few more days, they should strongly consider signing Dwight Howard to a contract.

The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is currently with the Philippines' Strong Group for the 2024 Dubai International Basketball Championship. The event began on Jan. 19 but concludes nine days later, meaning Howard is free to resume his NBA return attempt after this Sunday.

Howard — an eight-time All-Star — was one of the most dominant big men during the first part of his career, leading the league in rebounds five times between 2007 and 2013. He isn't anywhere close to being in his prime anymore, but he still is good enough to compete on basketball's biggest stage.

After all, it was only two seasons ago that he played 16.2 minutes per night across 60 games with the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though it was far from his best showing, his 6.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 61.2% field-goal percentage proved that he can still compete. He most recently spent the 2022-23 campaign in Taiwan, though, averaging 23.2 points and 16.2 rebounds across 34.9 minutes per outing.

Howard won't be able to dominate the NBA as he did Taiwan, but he's still serviceable if the Cavaliers hold him to 15 or fewer minutes per night. Besides, his locker room presence could be enough to help the likes of Allen and Mobley take their game to the next level.

To me, that makes signing Howard a low-risk, high-reward situation.

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