The Thunder have issued a qualifying offer to Dion Waiters, making him a restricted free agent, according to RealGM.com’s transactions log. While the move doesn’t come as a real surprise, the odds of Waiters returning to Oklahoma City appeared to take a hit when the club acquired Victor Oladipo last week, so it wasn’t a lock that Waiters would get a QO.
There’s little to no chance that Waiters will sign the one-year qualifying offer, worth about $6.778MM, since he should have no problem finding more lucrative multiyear offers on the open market. So from the Thunder’s perspective, there’s probably no harm in extending that QO. Even if OKC ultimately rescinds the offer or declines to match an offer sheet Waiters signs with another suitor, making him a restricted free agent gives the club some extra flexibility for now.
Meanwhile, the Rockets have extended a qualifying offer for one power forward, but not another, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, who reports (via Twitter) that Donatas Motiejunas got a QO, but Terrence Jones didn’t.
Houston’s decision means that Motiejunas will remain on the team’s books for now, with a qualifying offer worth $4.434MM, and the Rockets will have the right of first refusal, giving the team the ability to match any offer sheet for Motiejunas. Jones, on the other hand, will become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign anywhere he likes. Although he has struggled with consistency and has battled injuries over the past couple seasons, Jones will likely intrigue teams in the market for a power forward with some shooting range.
For a breakdown of which players eligible for restricted free agency have received qualifying offers, check out our full list of 2016 free agents.