When the Thunder reached a deal with European guard Alex Abrines on Monday, it made Dion Waiters expendable. Not that they wouldn’t want to keep him still, but Waiters leverage with the Thunder largely went away.
Now the Thunder have taken the next step, rescinding their qualifying offer to Waiters, something reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports. That means Waiters is an unrestricted free agent.
With the qualifying offer in place, the Thunder had the rights to match any offer for Waiters. Unlike guys like Tyler Johnson of Miami or Allen Crabbe of Portland, no team was going to come in with an offer large enough to make Oklahoma stop and considering not matching. (Brooklyn tried to poach Johnson and Crabbe, but their teams matched the big offers.)
But with Waiters an unrestricted free agent, Brooklyn (which has $20 million in cap space still), Philadephia and others can try to land him at what they see as a reasonable price. Sacramento had interest in the past, but has since filled their cap space. In Brooklyn Waiters likely would come off the bench behind Rondae Hollis-Jefferson; in Philadelphia, he likely would move into the starting lineup.
Waiters is a shoot-first guard who averaged 9.8 points per game in nearly 28 minutes a night for the Thunder last season. Long known as a gunner, he improved his shot selection (and just shot less) last season, plus he developed and shot 35.7 percent from three. His game started to mature in OKC, would that continue if he were given a larger role on a lesser team, or would he return to his gunner ways?