Of the players who finished last season on an NBA roster and didn’t have a contract for 2022/23, there are still dozens of unrestricted free agents on the open market. However, the number of restricted free agents is far smaller.
As our list of current free agents shows, there are just eight restricted free agents still unsigned — four who received standard qualifying offers and four who received two-way QOs.
We’re already a month into the 2022 free agent period, but it’s possible that some of these restricted free agents will remain on the market for another month or two. Let’s take a closer look at the RFAs still available…
It’s no surprise that Bridges remains unsigned. He was arrested just before free agency began and now faces multiple felony charges related to domestic violence. The Hornets will certainly be in no rush to re-sign him as the legal process plays out, and Bridges’ $7.9MM qualifying offer won’t expire until October 1, so he’ll be in no hurry to accept it either. If and when Bridges is back under contract, the NBA would have the option of placing him on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation.
The other three cases here look more like straightforward examples of how restricted free agency often works. In all likelihood, the Bucks, Cavaliers, and Spurs have made preliminary offers to Nwora, Sexton, and Wieskamp, respectively, and have encouraged them to explore the market to see if they can get a more lucrative offer sheet elsewhere. Until that happens, those teams are unlikely to bid against themselves by increasing their offers.
We know, for instance, that the Cavs have reportedly offered Sexton a three-year deal worth roughly $40MM. He’s believed to be seeking a salary closer to $20MM per year.
All three players would have the option of accepting their qualifying offers and heading into the season on a one-year contract, but that may be a more viable path for Sexton, who is coming off a lost season and has a QO worth $7.2MM, than for Nwora ($2.1MM). Wieskamp’s qualifying offer is also relatively modest ($1.8MM), but his NBA résumé is far more limited than Sexton’s or Nwora’s, so it’s unclear if he’ll get a better offer than that.
A report in early July suggested that Duke was hoping to earn a standard contract from the Nets, and following a Las Vegas Summer League in which he averaged 19.0 points per game in five appearances, there’s no reason to think his stance has changed. Brooklyn only has 13 players on standard contracts, so a promotion remains in play for Duke, but the team likely wants resolution on the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sagas before locking in those back-of-the-roster spots.
Once Goran Dragic officially signs, the Bulls will have 15 players on standard guaranteed contracts and just one on a two-way deal, so they’d probably like to see Hill accept his two-way qualifying offer to fill that second slot.
It’s unclear what the Raptors‘ plans are for Johnson. The team has filled its two-way slots with new signees (Ron Harper Jr. and Jeff Dowtin) and there will be stiff competition for a spot on the 15-man regular season roster — the team already has 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus three with partial guarantees and second-rounder Christian Koloko still unsigned. We’ll see if Johnson gets a chance to vie for one of those roster spots.
There may be a cleaner path for Thomas to earn a place on the Celtics‘ 15-man roster. Only 12 of Boston’s regular season roster spots are accounted for so far, so Thomas could get the chance to compete to be the 13th or 14th man. The team has already filled both its two-way slots with new additions (JD Davison and Mfiondu Kabengele).