The Nuggets are withdrawing their qualifying offer to free agent forward Trey Lyles, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The move will allow Lyles to become an unrestricted free agent.
The timing of the decision makes sense, as word broke this morning that the Nuggets would acquire Jerami Grant in a trade with the Thunder. Grant figures to play most of the power forward minutes that Lyles would have seen if he had returned to Denver. Instead, the 6’10” Canadian will likely sign with another team that might be positioned to give him a larger role.
The 12th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Lyles had his best year as a Nugget in 2017/18, when he averaged 9.9 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a .491/.381/.706 shooting line in 73 games (19.1 MPG). However, he took a step backward this past season, as those numbers slipped to 8.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG and .418/.255/.698 shooting.
Despite his struggles in 2018/19, the Nuggets issued Lyles a qualifying offer worth about $4.49MM this summer, which made him a restricted free agent and gave Denver the right of first refusal if he had signed an offer sheet with a rival suitor. Having decided not to accept that one-year qualifying offer, the former Kentucky Wildcat will now get the opportunity to try to top it on the open market.