The Likelihood Of Each Qualifying Offer

Many players who are up for restricted free agency each summer end up as unrestricted free agents instead. Qualifying offers aren’t set at lucrative amounts, but front offices are reluctant to pay the price to match competing offers from other NBA teams for players whose prospects of making more than the minimum salary are slim. The same is true with some players who are worth more than the minimum but don’t quite measure up to the sort of salary their qualifying offer would entail. Others end up as unrestricted free agents largely because their teams prefer to keep cap flexibility.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that a team has no intention of signing a player if it fails to tender a qualifying offer. There’s no rule against re-signing such players. It just indicates that the team is unwilling to have the amount of the qualifying offer on its books for that player as free agency opens in July.

Teams must decide whether to tender qualifying offers by the end of June, and much can change between now and then. Still, there are enough cases that are fairly clear with the regular season in the books. We’ve categorized each potential restricted agent into a tier based on the likelihood that his team makes the qualifying offer necessary for him to indeed become a restricted free agent. These categories serve as de facto ranking tiers for this year’s restricted free agents, though considerations are made for the respective values of each qualifying offer and the player’s contextual fit with his team. The qualifying offer amounts are listed next to every name. The categories are below, beginning with those who will almost certainly be tendered qualifying offers in the “Slam dunks” category:

Slam dunks

More likely than not

Could go either way

Probably not

* — These players had the values of their qualifying offer adjusted via the starter criteria. We went in depth on them right here.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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