As he leaves to join the Chicago Bulls, veteran big man Tristan Thompson wants the city of Indianapolis and the Indiana Pacers organization to know how much his time there meant to him. Before he joined the Pacers, he admired the franchise from afar, and now that he's gone, he will continue to root for his former teammates, Thompson wrote in a thank-you post on Instagram:
The full text of his Instagram caption:
thank you for everything! I really appreciate all the love and energy I received from everyone from the organization and the fan base. I always admired the @pacers franchise and have had some amazing playoff battles. Even though my time was short, I appreciated every minute of it. Even though I'm gone, my two brother in this picture will do some great things and make this organization and city proud. Love these two guys. Will always be watching them and cheering them on. Till next time Indy. Thank you 🙏🏾
Thompson, initially acquired by Indiana in a trade with the Sacramento Kings, went out on a high note, scoring a season-high 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and grabbing six rebounds in 21 minutes on Wednesday. After the 113-108 win against the Washington Wizards, Rick Carlisle -- a basketball coach, a pianist, a licensed pilot and now, apparently, a newsbreaker -- announced that Thompson would be waived and then make his way to Chicago. It was a "rare instance," Carlisle said, "where you get to thank a guy in the presence of his teammates."
Judging by Thompson's words, it must have been a difficult and emotional decision to agree to a buyout. He is an NBA champion, however, and he has played in just five playoff games since 2017-18, the last season he played with LeBron James in Cleveland. The Bulls are first in the East, while the Pacers are 13th, well out of range of the play-in. It is understandable that the opportunity to make the postseason would mean even more to Thompson than his connection with Indiana.
Thompson made his Pacers debut last Friday and played a total of 66 minutes in four games with the team.