The Charlotte Hornets announced today that the team has tendered a qualifying offer for Miles Bridges, PJ Washington and Théo Maledon.
All three players are now restricted free agents this summer.
The most notable one here is obviously Bridges. Following his arrest last summer, Bridges let the Hornets’ qualifying offer expire and did not sign with a team for the 2022-23 season. Remaining unsigned allowed the Hornets to retain his restricted free agent rights, which they exercised again today. My understanding is that Bridges is no longer allowed to accept the qualifying offer after letting it expire. Extending a second QO just allows the Hornets to match offers from other teams, even though he’s not able to accept it.
Washington could be one of the hotter names in restricted free agency this summer. The 24-year-old forward hits the market after averaging a career-high 15.7 points per game, along with 4.9 boards and 2.4 assists. Only four players shot at least 34.5% from distance and recorded one steal and one block per game last season: Jaren Jackson Jr., Jaden McDaniels, Patrick Williams and Washington. In his fourth season, he expanded his offensive repertoire and shouldered a career-high usage rate with no compromise on his defensive versatility. Competitive teams with moderate room under the tax will be enticed by that.
Maledon will be a restricted free agent come 6:00 PM EST on June 30th after playing last season on a Two-Way contract. When accepted, qualifying offers for Two-Ways give them another season on a Two-Way with $50k guaranteed at signing. Only players with four years or less of NBA service can sign a Two-Way — Maledon has three after last season. He was an effective backup point guard last season and even started seven games, but the Hornets drafted two more guards last week. He’s more likely to accept a Two-Way from another team in his last year of eligibility.
In somewhat related news, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has finally been signed and shared with teams. It’s only 676 pages. Plenty of time for cap strategists to breeze through it before free agency opens on Friday night.
The NBA offseason officially begins in just under 50 hours. The clock is ticking.