The Sixers and Kings are teams in need of backcourt help and both franchises may make a run at Thunder shooting guard Dion Waiters, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops relays (on Twitter). Waiters will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer, provided Oklahoma City submits a qualifying offer worth $6,777,589. Otherwise, Waiters will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent and OKC would not have the ability to match any offer he were to ink.
It’s unclear if the Thunder intend to re-sign Waiters this summer and his fate may very well be linked to the free agency decision of Kevin Durant. If Durant re-signs with the team, OKC won’t have enough cap space to ink a suitable replacement, which would markedly increase the likelihood of the team retaining Waiters. But, if Durant departs, the team may not be willing to commit to Waiters on a long-term pact. The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater has speculated that Waiters could command a salary in the range of $12MM to $16MM range annually on his next contract, which may be too rich a deal for the Thunder to commit to if they need to begin rebuilding in the wake of a Durant departure.
The Sixers would be an interesting fit for Waiters given their need for backcourt scoring. The guard, who hails from Philadelphia, has said in the past that he would be interested in playing for the Sixers, which would certainly aid the team’s recruitment efforts if true. Sacramento’s backcourt could also use an influx of talent, though I don’t necessarily view Waiters as much of an upgrade of Ben McLemore, who currently sits atop the Kings’ depth chart at the two.
Waiters made 78 appearances for the Thunder this past season, including 15 starts. He notched averages of 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds an 2.0 assists in 27.6 minutes per outing while shooting .399/.358/.713.