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Cleveland Cavaliers salute former center Tristan Thompson as he departs to join Boston Celtics

"The grit and toughness that I developed playing for a city like Cleveland will forever be instilled in me," Thompson said in a social media post.

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video is from November 23, 2020

As Tristan Thompson heads to Boston to join the Celtics via free agency, his old team made sure to wish him well on the way out. 

On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers released a statement of tribute to the 29-year-old big man, as well as a salute on social media. 

“Tristan Thompson represented the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland with the utmost grace and class during his nine seasons in Northeast Ohio," the Cavs wrote in their official statement. "Tristan embodied everything a franchise would want in a player during his time as a Cavalier. He became a champion, a mentor and a great community partner through his selfless acts off the basketball court. Affectionately recognized for his durability, competitive spirit and determination, Tristan was an integral part of our four consecutive NBA Finals trips, culminating in the franchise’s first-ever NBA Championship in 2016. We thank Tristan and wish him nothing but the best, knowing that he has earned a place in the hearts of Cavaliers fans and this organization forever.”

Thompson saluted the Cavaliers and the fans of Cleveland with a social media post of his own

"Cleveland will forever be embedded in my heart and I will always cherish the countless amount of memories I’ve made over the last 10 seasons. From getting drafted, to 4 straight Finals appearances, to winning the 2016 NBA Championship and bringing a well-deserved ring to the city of Cleveland. I’d like to thank everyone in Cleveland who was a part of my journey including everyone who works at the Q that helped make my family feel at home every game.

The grit and toughness that I developed playing for a city like Cleveland will forever be instilled in me. To the city of Boston! To say it’s an honor to wear the green and white is an understatement! I can’t wait to get to work!!!!" 

Earlier this month, Thompson agreed to a two-year-deal with the Boston Celtics worth a reported $19 million. 

Thompson spent nine years with the Cavaliers, averaging 9.4 points and 8.7 rebounds for his career. He averaged a double-double in each of the past two seasons, including a career-best 12.0 points per game to go with 10.1 rebounds per contest in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season. His future with the Cavaliers became cloudy after the team acquired fellow big man Andre Drummond at the league's trading deadline in February. 

Thompson was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and was an important part of the Cavaliers' NBA championship team in 2016. He leaves as the Cavaliers' No. 3 career rebounder and played in 447 consecutive games from 2012 through 2017. 

Thompson's departure leaves Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova as the lone remaining members of the 2016 NBA title team still on the Cavs' roster.

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