The Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday rescinded their $6.7 million qualifying offer to guard Dion Waiters, making him an unrestricted free agent, Yahoo Sports reported, citing unidentified league sources.
The move — which protects salary-cap space — appears to be related to OKC's primary offseason goal of getting guard Russell Westbrook to renegotiate his contract, eliminating his 2017 free agency, Yahoo's sources said.
The Thunder, who lost free agent Kevin Durant this offseason, appear to be playing the long game, eager to lock up Westbrook with an eye toward recruiting 2017 free agent and Oklahoma native Blake Griffin to pair with the five-time All-Star guard.
The Thunder still could re-sign Waiters since they hold his Bird Rights, but teams with salary-cap space such as the 76ers and Nets who might be interested in Waiters appear to make that unlikely.
Protecting itself against the potential loss of Waiters, OKC signed 2013 draft pick Alex Abrines, a guard from Spain who is a top Euroleague player, and acquired guard Victor Oladipo from the Magic via trade.