Hilliard, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, spent two seasons with the Pistons before being dealt to the Rockets in June 2017. Houston used him as a salary-matching piece in the Chris Paul trade with the Clippers, who subsequently waived him.
The Spurs signed Hilliard to a two-way contract last September, and kept him under contract for the entire 2017/18 season. The 6’6″ swingman appeared in just 14 games for San Antonio, but played well in 36 contests for the team’s G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, averaging 20.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.8 APG with a shooting line of .475/.400/.845.
Hilliard received a qualifying offer from the Spurs at season’s end, making him a restricted free agent, and it doesn’t appear San Antonio ever withdrew that offer.
This is the first summer that two-way qualifying offers have been an option for teams and players, so we’re still figuring out how they’ll be used going forward. Assuming they function like standard QOs, the Spurs should have the option of keeping that offer on the table next offseason before Hilliard can sign another NBA contract. The Raptors have taken this approach with Nando De Colo for the last several years, tendering him a qualifying offer every year in case he decides to return to the NBA.