In an expected move, the Nuggets tendered the qualifying offer Friday to guard J.R. Smith. That means Smith will become a restricted free agent Tuesday, and the Nuggets this summer will have the right to match any offer.
However, the Nuggets are still waiting to decide whether to tender the qualifying offer to guard Yakhouba Diawara by Monday’s deadline. If they do, he will be a restricted free agent. If they don’t, he will become unrestricted.
Smith’s qualifying offer is for $3.04 million. That gives Smith, who made $2.14 million last season, the right to accept that salary for next season, and become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2009.
However, the Nuggets can sign Smith to a contract this summer or he could sign an offer sheet with another team. If Smith signs an offer sheet, the Nuggets would have seven days to match.