As a result, Gerald Henderson will become a restricted free agent as the qualifying offer acts as a base contract in order to give the team the right of first refusal regarding offers other teams might make.
Conversely, this makes Byron Mullens an unrestricted free agent. The Bobcats cannot match any offer other teams may make and would have to outbid if they changed their mind for whatever reason. However, because Mullens started 41 games for the Bobcats, it gave him starter criteria, which increased his qualifying offer. The Bobcats still could re-sign Mullens for less than the qualifying offer if other teams don't bid much on him and they really want to keep him on the roster.
Henderson, a four-year NBA veteran, has seen mixed results as one of the last Bobcats remaining from the Larry Brown era. He got very little time as a rookie with Brown opting for Stephen Graham, Larry Hughes or Flip Murray more often. In the following years, he's received much more playing time.
His offense, which was long seen as his main problem, gradually improved year by year.
Henderson's three-point shot has been a point of weakness for years but this past season he became a decent shooter from deep, making 33 percent of his threes. His attempts more than doubled from the previous season in which he made 23.4 percent of his shots from behind the arc.
Despite shooting considerably worse at the rim this season than last year (57.6 percent compared to 67.9), Henderson's made his offense more versatile, using about as many possessions as last year but improving his true shooting percentage a bit and getting to the line even more. He also improved as a distributor, assisting on more of his teammates' shots than in previous years while also improving his turnovers. If his improvements last season were more than just the infamous contract year aberration, he could be a good asset on offense and defense as a player who can score in a variety of ways and create offense and hold his own on defense.
Injuries have been a fairly big problem for Henderson, however. Out of a possible 230 games, Henderson has played 191 in the past three seasons (not counting rookie season due to Larry Brown reasons). This is a result of a variety of injuries, including a torn labrum in his hip in 2011, and a variety of strains and bruises from his shin to his foot to his hamstring to his back.
The Bobcats traded their second-round pick this year for Byron Mullens two years ago. Mullens has been inconsistent, to say the least. He's a high-volume shooter with an itchy trigger finger. He's not a great rebounder and despite improvements on defense, he's still not a great defender because he can lack awareness at times and doesn't hold ground in the paint too well.
Moving him to power forward this past season from center helped but shooting about 11 times a game with four of those attempts being 3-pointers didn't exactly make him an efficient scorer. Mullens is athletic and showed flashes of being a decent pick and roll finisher but the fact that over 71 percent of his field goal attempts came from further than 10 feet out tells you all you need to know.
With the Bobcats drafting Cody Zeller, it seems the Bobcats no longer have a need for Mullens. Zeller's offensive skill set and efficiency practically gives Mullens the boot in itself.
If I had to guess, the Bobcats are looking more to re-sign Josh McRoberts than Mullens for the backup power forward spot.