What is a qualifying offer in the NBA?

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers

With the season now complete, attention has turned to the 2021 NBA free agency window, including those players expected to receive a qualifying offer from their franchise. Some of the league's brightest young stars, such as John Collins, will be eyeing a huge pay rise while others will be looking to stay with their team and try to make a bigger impact.

In this article, we will examine one of the finer details in the free agency window - qualifying offers. We will look at what they are, why they are offered and which stars could be expecting one this summer.

Why do teams extend a qualifying offer to a player in the NBA?

Atlanta Hawks star John Collins is a restricted free agent this summer
Atlanta Hawks star John Collins is a restricted free agent this summer

There are two types of free agency in the NBA: unrestricted and restricted. However, for a player to become a restricted free agent, his team must first provide a qualifying offer, which is essentially a one-year deal.

This contract can vary in worth, depending on the player's previous deal or the starter criteria, which is based on starting at least 41 games or playing at least 2000 minutes in the previous regular season or averaged over two.

A qualifying offer is utilized to give teams the chance to be the first refusal. If they weren't to extend an offer, a player could become an unrestricted free agent. Furthermore, they wouldn't have the chance to match any potential offer sheet the player signs with another organization.

Restricted free agents are often those players coming out of their rookie contracts who could reject the qualifying offer in the hope of earning a maximum contract extension instead. One such example of this at the moment is Atlanta Hawks star John Collins, who is expected to earn huge pay-day this summer.

Another player who has been extended a qualifying offer according to recent reports, is LA Lakers young guard Talen Horton-Tucker. There are high expectations for 20-year-old after making huge improvements this season. He has shown that he will have a high ceiling in his NBA career and could receive offers well above the $1.8m given by the franchise.

A qualifying offer is not only extended to young stars, though, but also to those coming off of a two-way contract. Their salaries are based on the previous two-way contract, in effect becoming another two-way offer.

Keep your eyes on the NBA free agency window as more and more players are given a qualifying offer in the coming weeks.

Edited by Prem Deshpande

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