Tristan Thompson says he surprised LeBron James during Lakers workout: ‘I haven’t seen this since Cleveland’

Brad Sullivan
4 Min Read

Veteran big man Tristan Thompson indicated that during his recent workout with the Los Angeles Lakers, his effort reminded LeBron James of their time together with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Thompson appeared on “The Draymond Green Show” and said that he made sure he was prepared to give his very best, which resulted in James’ flashback.

“When it came to that Lakers workout, I made sure I was in great shape, dunking the ball, windmilling,” Thompson said. “I was doin’ stuff where it was like, Bron (James) was telling like, ‘Man, yo, I ain’t seen this since Cleveland.’ Yeah, ’cause I’m ready, f—— ready, bro. I’m ready to make this happen. I’m ready to help you guys make this push, and I feel like what I can bring to the table to help that team is an area that I think they don’t have right now.”

Thompson and James were together for four seasons with the Cavaliers from 2014 to 2018. During that span of time, the Cavaliers reached the NBA Finals each year and captured the franchise’s only NBA title in 2016.

Thompson was never known as a scorer during his time with the Cavaliers, with his main contributions coming on the rebounding front and defense. He entered the league as the fourth overall selection of the 2011 NBA Draft.

Another strong point in Thompson’s favor over the years has been his durability, with the veteran playing in every game for four consecutive years from 2012 to 2016.

Over the course of his NBA career, Thompson has averaged 9.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Those numbers have dropped since he delivered back-to-back seasons in which he averaged a double-double.

Those years were from 2018 to 2020, which coincided with James’ free agent departure to the Lakers. The rebuilding Cavaliers badly needed veteran leadership in the wake of James leaving, with Thompson stepping up.

When Thompson’s contract with the Cavaliers ended after the 2019-20 season, he also left in free agency by signing with the Boston Celtics.

Thompson played in 54 games for the Celtics the following season and was dealt in August 2021 to the Sacramento Kings. After that, he was dealt to the Indiana Pacers and was then released before signing with the Chicago Bulls.

Turning 32 earlier this month, Thompson has not played in the NBA at all this season. That lack of fatigue and his usual energetic performance on the court could have benefits for the Lakers if the team ends up signing him.

Right now, the Lakers have yet to go that route, though time to make a decision is running short with just nine games left in the regular season.

The Lakers are currently locked in a furious battle for one of the remaining postseason berths. Right now six teams are within a game of each other and are fighting for four spots.

On Friday night, the Lakers will seek to aid their cause with a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.