The New Orleans Pelicans will not extend a qualifying offer to point guard Brian Roberts, reports Chris B. Haynes of CSNNW. As a result, Roberts will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Roberts, 28, played a surprisingly prominent role for New Orleans last season due to injuries. Starting 42 games in place of Jrue Holiday, he finished the season averaging 9.4 points and 3.3 assists over 23.2 minutes per game. He also led the NBA in free throw percentage at 94 percent after going 125-of-133 from the charity stripe.
However, because Roberts started more than half of the season, CBA rules boosted his qualifying offer to $2,875,131 this offseason. Rather than offer Roberts that salary for 2014-15 in order to retain restricted free agency over the player, the Pelicans will instead cut ties and possibly move on.
New Orleans could always re-sign Roberts as a free agent, which might actually come cheaper than the qualifying offer. Solid backup point guards tend to be plentiful on the open market each year, so demand for a player like Roberts probably won’t be overwhelming.
The Pelicans already have Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon to fill their backcourt minutes, and while those guys have struggled to stay healthy, their salaries make it difficult to add much else. Roberts was valuable partially because he came so cheap, and given that New Orleans wants to add Omer Asik into the fold, getting a significant raise was probably unlikely.
Despite his age, Roberts has only played two NBA seasons. Before finally breaking into the league, he spent time playing in Germany and Israel.