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Timberwolves Extend Qualifying Offer to Nemanja Bjelica

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The Wolves have made the Serbian forward an RFA, meaning they can match any offer.

NBA: Playoffs-Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

From Jon K of the Athletic:

This makes Bjelica a restricted free agent when the window opens on July 1st, meaning the Wolves can match any offer if they so choose. The timing and mechanism work like this: Bjelica can sign an offer sheet with any team after the window opens. When the moratorium ends on July sixth, the Wolves will have two days to either match the contract or allow Bjelica to leave if he has signed an offer sheet.

Restricted free agents tend to find the market very difficult, because teams don’t want to tie up their space when the original team can match. This has a tendency to reduce prices for these players, and is another reason it’s usually an easy decision for teams to exercise the QO.

The Wolves can always choose to rescind the QO if they decide to go in a different direction. Bjelica also has the option to accept the QO, which would mean he would be on a one year contract with the Timberwolves. The amount of Bjelica’s QO is $4,937,499, or 125% of his 2017-18 salary.

Given the Wolves sparse flexibility this summer, and questions about their ability to lure free agents, this makes sense. It’s very likely that Bjelica is better than anyone they could get using their exceptions.

Bjelica himself I’m sure would like a more consistent role and playing time, things he’s not likely to get with Tom Thibodeau, but it’s now up to the Wolves whether he stays or goes elsewhere.