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Hornets extend qualifying offer to Devonte’ Graham, Malik Monk set to be unrestricted free agent

Graham is likely to remain with the team, while Monk is all but gone

Philadelphia 76ers v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

Per Rod Boone of Sports Illustrated, the Charlotte Hornets have extended a qualifying offer of $4.74M to Devonte’ Graham and decided not to extend the qualifying offer to Malik Monk, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent.

With this move, the Hornets create the requisite amount of cap space to take back Mason Plumlee in the draft night trade with the Pistons that also saw Charlotte acquire the draft rights to JT Thor. Plumlee has about $16.6M left on his contract, with $8.1 due in 2021-22 and about $4.5M guaranteed for 2022-23.

If the Hornets were to tender Monk the qualifying offer they would’ve had no cap space remaining with his $16M cap hold, and thus wouldn’t have been able to trade for Plumlee and Thor while also not being able to sign any free agents besides Monk or Graham. It’s really unfortunate given Monk’s improvement over the last two seasons, but this was the only choice the Hornets had if they wanted to further build out the roster for this season.

Some teams that are expected to show a level of interest in Monk are the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors. All the best to him as he continues his NBA journey, it didn’t work out in Charlotte but he’s got the talent to make it happen wherever his next destination may be.

As Boone pointed out, Graham is all but assured to remain a Hornet. The Athletic’s John Hollinger’s BORD$ projection valued Graham at a $19M per-year salary, though it’s unlikely he reaches that number with the Hornets. Anything between $10M and $15M AAV would make sense for both the player and organization.