By rescinding their qualifying offer to fourth-string center Ognjen Kuzmic, the Warriors this week made a simple statement: The project is over.
The Warriors, who last month extended an offer to “Kuz,” clearly have reconsidered his potential and concluded he will not be a valuable contributor for them in the future.
Which stands to reason insofar as Kuzmic played not one minute in the postseason, as the Warriors rolled to an NBA Championship.
The free-agent status of the 7-foot Serbian, hampered by injuries and limited to two games in the Las Vegas Summer League, changes from restricted to unrestricted.
Kuzmic was the latter (52nd overall) of two second-round picks made by the Warriors in the 2012 draft and is the only member of that four-man class -– Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green are the others -– yet to make an impact.
Kuzmic last season played a total only 71 minutes for the Warriors and did not play at all in the postseason. Kuzmic for the second consecutive season spent considerably more time with the D-League Santa Cruz Warriors.
The move relieves a modicum of stress on the team’s salary cap, removing his projected $1.147 million payout for 2015-16, and gives the Warriors a small amount of wiggle room should they seek to sign a new player.
The Warriors still own the Early Bird Rights to Kuzmic and are allowed to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him. There is almost zero chance of that happening, and it’s highly unlikely they would re-sign him to a minimum-salary deal at about $950,000.