The Oklahoma City Thunder rescinded their qualifying offer to Dion Waiters earlier on Tuesday. It’s a decision that enabled the former lottery pick to become an unrestricted free agent.
In reality, this decision had more to do with the team’s desire to keep Russell Westbrook beyond the 2016-17 season.
As a restricted free agent, Waiters held a $12.8 million cap hold — something that clearly impacted Oklahoma City’s ability to upgrade its roster following the departure of Kevin Durant in free agency.
Now that Waiters himself is free to sign with any team that might want him, the former top-five pick sent out a rather cryptic Instagram message Tuesday evening.
Notice the “trust the process” hashtag? This is Waiters suggesting that he is headed to the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s been the team’s motto over the course of its recent free-fall into the abyss of NBA irrelevancy.
If this ended up being the case, no one around the basketball world would be terribly surprised. We mentioned earlier in the day that Philadelphia is one of the select teams that boast the cap room to take on a rather large contract (more on that here).
And despite Waiters’ struggles thus far in his career, he’s likely worth $10-plus million annually in today’s market.
Waiters, 24, averaged 9.8 points while shooting 39 percent from the field a season ago. He’d immediately slot in as Philadelphia’s starting shooting guard. It’s a position the team has been targeting in free agency.
We’ll see if this come to fruition soon enough.