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Thunder rescind Dion Waiters offer, protecting potential Russell Westbrook extension

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The Thunder may still sign the wing, but protecting cap space for Westbrook is the key for Oklahoma City.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder have rescinded their qualifying offer to Dion Waiters, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It's a move that should help keep their chances alive of resigning Russell Westbrook heading into next summer's free agency. As Wojnarowksi notes, the Thunder still hold Bird Rights to Waiters and could resign him, but this will protect their cap space needed to resign Westbrook. If a team were to get Waiters to sign a big-money offer sheet and Oklahoma City were to match, they would lose cap space to renegotiate with Westbrook.

By rescinding the qualifying offer, the Thunder, it appears, are doing everything they can to keep Westbrook. They need to after losing Kevin Durant this summer.

The future of Waiters is up in the air now. He has reportedly received interest from the Bulls, Kings and 76ers, but the Bulls and Kings made moves before Waiters' free agency heated up. Waiters averaged 10 points, three rebounds and two assists for the Thunder last season and gave Oklahoma City huge minutes in the playoffs as they nearly stunned the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

Westbrook and the Thunder will have a new look this season. Whether or not Waiters is a part of the roster depends on how much money they'll have to spend to keep him.

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Westbrook probably is feeling lonely without Durant