Wake-up call: Trevor Booker will command higher qualifying offer

Wake-up call: Trevor Booker will command higher qualifying offer
June 5, 2014, 6:00 am
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Trevor Booker is a restricted free agent, but he presents a unique case for the Wizards going into the offseason. The power forward, whose emergence was key with Nene missing 29 games, is in line for a higher qualifying offer if that's the route the team chooses. 

A qualifying offer is a standing offer for a one-year guaranteed contract. A team can't gain right of first refusal without making an offer by June 30.

As the No. 23 overall pick in 2010, Booker was due a qualifying offer of $3.4 million. But because the reserve started 45 games and played 1,553 minutes for the Wizards in 2013-14, Booker is due a higher offer because he meets what's called the "starter criteria" in the collective bargaining agreement. If a player starts 41 games or plays at least 2,000 minutes in the regular season he qualifies for a bump in salary. 

So what does that ultimately mean? If a player is picked between Nos. 10-30 and meets the starter criteria, he gets the same qualifying offer of the ninth pick in his draft class. 

For Booker, that would be Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz who was taken ninth. Hayward is due a qualifying offer of $4.67 million. 

Does that change anything for the Wizards? Yes. They have a decision to make. 

If the Wizards want to keep Booker -- and all indications are they do -- instead of a one-year qualifying offer that could be above his market value they might be better off extending him a more cap friendly, multiyear deal for less money per year than $4.67 million. Booker could play out the one-year deal and become a unrestricted free agent for 2015-16 which would seem like a waste. 

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There's room on every roster for a utility player such as Booker, who averaged 6.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and shot a career-high 55 percent from the field. 

The deadline can expire without a qualifying offer being accepted or withdrawn. In that case, Booker would remain a restricted free agent and still be able to negotiate a deal with Washington.