Kevin Seraphin is by no means an exceptional NBA player, but Friday he did something that only 16 others have done since the implementation of rookie scale contracts in 1995: he signed his qualifying offer. Usually, the one-year qualifying offer is a mere placeholder for negotiation between a team and a restricted free agent, a vehicle for the club to retain its right to match offers from other teams. Still, a few players have gone ahead and taken the qualifying offer out of a desire to hit unrestricted free agency as soon as possible. A larger group among the 17 who have signed qualifying offers did so because there was no better offer on the market, and presumably Seraphin is among them.
Occasionally, a marquee restricted free agent will threaten to sign a qualifying offer to attempt to spook his team into a more player-friendly negotiating stance, lest the team lose the player to unrestricted free agency a year later. A report suggested that Greg Monroe might have done so this month, but rarely does this tactic come to fruition. The most sought-after restricted free agent to sign his qualifying offer was probably Ben Gordon in 2008, though it’s worth noting that the strategy seemed to work for him, as he fled for a lucrative deal with the Pistons the next summer.
Most players who sign qualifying offers don’t stick with their teams for long. Spencer Hawes is the only player to sign a contract with the same team with which he signed a qualifying offer the year before.
Not every player who receives a qualifying offer is coming off a rookie scale contract. Any player with three or fewer years of NBA experience is subject to restricted free agency if his team tenders a qualifying offer. In some cases, players have signed qualifying offers and have still been eligible for restricted free agency the next offseason. The Lakers carried two such players in 2012/13. Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris had signed qualifying offers in 2012 to remain with the team for that season, though the Lakers declined to tender qualifying offers to either of them in 2013.
With the help of RealGM.com, ShamSports, Storytellers Contracts, Patricia Bender’s database and our own archives, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of players who’ve signed qualifying offers since 1995, including information on the next NBA deal each player signed. They’re listed in reverse chronological order below:
- Kevin Seraphin signed a qualifying offer of $3,898,692 from the Wizards on 7/18/14.
- Ivan Johnson signed a qualifying offer of $962,195 from the Hawks on 9/18/12. Has not signed another NBA contract.
- Devin Ebanks signed a qualifying offer of $1,054,389 from the Lakers on 8/13/12. He signed a non-guaranteed training camp invitation from the Mavs on 9/13/13, but he didn’t make the opening-night roster.
- Luke Harangody signed a qualifying offer of $1,054,389 from the Cavaliers on 7/3/12. Has not signed another NBA contract.
- Darius Morris signed a qualifying offer of $962,195 from the Lakers on 7/2/12. He agreed to sign a non-guaranteed training camp invitation from the Sixers on 9/12/13, but he didn’t make the opening-night roster. He later surfaced on a 10-day contract with the Clippers, signed 1/6/14.
- Nick Young signed a qualifying offer of $3,695,857 from the Wizards on 12/19/11. He was traded to the Clippers 3/15/12, and signed for one year, $5.6MM with the Sixers on 7/6/12.
- Marco Belinelli signed a qualifying offer of $3,377,604 from the Pelicans on 12/13/11. He signed for one year, $1.957MM with the Bulls on 7/24/12.
- Spencer Hawes signed a qualifying offer of $4,051,024 from the Sixers on 12/10/11. He re-signed with the Sixers for two years, $13.1MM on 7/12/12.
- Raymond Felton signed a qualifying offer of $5,501,196 from the Hornets on 9/23/09. Signed with the Knicks for two years, $14.56MM on 7/12/10.
- Ben Gordon signed a qualifying offer of $6,404,750 from the Bulls on 10/1/08. Signed with the Pistons for five years, $58MM on 7/8/09.
- Robert Swift signed a qualifying offer of $3,579,131 from the Thunder on 9/11/08. Has not signed another NBA contract.
- Mickael Pietrus signed a qualifying offer of $3,470,771 from the Warriors on 10/1/07. Signed with the Magic for four years, $21.2MM on 7/10/08.
- Melvin Ely signed a qualifying offer of $3,303,813 from the Hornets on 10/2/06. He was traded to the Spurs on 2/13/07, and agreed to sign for two years, $1,893,739 (minimum salary) with the Pelicans on 9/13/07.
- Vladimir Radmanovic signed a qualifying offer of $3,166,155 from the Thunder on 9/19/05. He was traded to the Clippers on 2/14/06, and agreed to sign for five years, $30.247MM with the Lakers on 7/12/06.
- Stromile Swift signed a qualifying offer of $5,993,105 from the Grizzlies on 9/30/04. Signed with the Rockets for four years, $22.4MM on 8/2/05.
- Michael Olowokandi signed a qualifying offer of $6,061,214 from the Clippers on 9/23/02. Signed with the Timberwolves for three years, $16,226,100 on 7/17/03.
- Rasho Nesterovic signed a qualifying offer of $2,436,813 from the Timberwolves on 8/25/02. Signed with the Spurs for six years, $42MM on 7/16/03.
Note: Retired team names (Charlotte Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets, Seattle SuperSonics) have been updated to the current names to avoid confusion.