Dion Waiters' Qualifying Offer from Thunder Reportedly RescindedJuly 19, 2016
The Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly rescinded their qualifying offer for shooting guard Dion Waiters on Monday night, per The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski and the Oklahoman's Anthony Slater.
The move makes Waiters an unrestricted free agent.
When the Thunder reportedly signed 2-guard Alex Abrines to a three-year deal Monday, per EuroHoops.net (via ESPN.com's Royce Young), it likely signaled the end of Waiters' time in Oklahoma City. Bleacher Report's Jared Dubin speculated as to how rescinding Waiters' offer could impact the team:
Becoming an unrestricted free agent would seemingly make Waiters more attractive for teams still looking to add backcourt depth. Wojnarowski threw out the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers as potential options.
Waiters wasn't all that much better with the Thunder than he was in his first two-and-a-half years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the 24-year-old averaged 18.4 points per 36 minutes on 42 percent shooting in Cleveland compared to 13.7 points per 36 on 39.6 percent shooting in Oklahoma City.
Sporting News' Danny Leroux wondered if Waiters' best route is signing a one-year deal in hopes of building his value this time next summer.
The strategy would undoubtedly be risky. While he has shown flashes of potential in the past, that potential hasn't materialized, and there's little from his earlier performances that would indicate he's on the verge of a breakout.
But the salary cap is expected to climb to $102 million ahead of the 2017-18 season, per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. Even if Waiters' stock doesn't rise demonstrably following his fifth year in the league, his earning power could still be higher with teams able to spend more money.
Whether he signs a short- or long-term deal, Waiters shouldn't have much trouble finding a new home with the available shooting guards thinning out.