The Magic will not extend a qualifying offer to Andrew Nicholson before this week’s deadline, meaning the 26-year-old will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent rather than as an RFA, reports Zach Lowe of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
Nicholson, the 19th overall pick in the 2012 draft, had a solid rookie season in Orlando, averaging 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game, with a .527 FG%. However, his role didn’t increase at all over the course of the next three seasons, and he has yet to repeat his PPG and FG% marks from that rookie year.
If the Magic had elected to make Nicholson a restricted free agent, it would have meant extending him a qualifying offer worth about $3.395MM, and it would have given the team the opportunity to match any offer sheet he signed with another team. Instead, Nicholson will be free to sign anywhere. His cap hold of approximately $5.951MM will still apply to Orlando’s books until the team renounces his rights or he signs a new contract.
While Nicholson won’t exactly be one of the most-coveted free agents on the market in July, he may draw interest from teams that believe he can be used better than he was in Orlando. After shooting no three-pointers in his rookie year, Nicholson did try to develop a long-distance shot in subsequent seasons — he made 41 of 114 three-point attempts (36.0%) in 2015/16, which could appeal to potential suitors.