Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who was the player with the longest tenure with the Nets, apparently is headed for free agency after the team declined to make a qualifying offer, according to an ESPN report on Monday. The deadline for extending a qualifying offer to Hollis-Jefferson is June 29, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski cited league sources as the basis for that report.
On Monday afternoon, Hollis-Jefferson essentially confirmed the report on Twitter with a tweet that read: “Brooklynnnnn I Love You . . . can’t believe it’s been 4 years ha . . . . Thank you.” That was followed by a clapping hands emoji.
Hollis-Jefferson was the last player remaining on the roster that current general manager Sean Marks inherited when he took over from former general manager Billy King in February, 2016. The 6-7 power forward is a defensive specialist who can guard multiple positions and is regarded as a heart-and-soul type in the locker room, but he struggled at the offensive end in the Nets’ system.
By declining to give Hollis-Jefferson a qualifying offer, the Nets still have a minimum of $46 million in salary-cap space to search for a replacement in the free-agent market. Their weakest position is power forward, which likely will be addressed in free agency and the draft as they search for a “stretch four.”
Coming off a career season in 2017-18 when he averaged 13.9 points on 49.1 percent shooting and had 6.8 rebounds per game, Hollis-Jefferson suffered a groin injury while taking part in an exhibition game in China with former Nets teammate Jeremy Lin last August. He missed the first three games of the regular season, suffered a less serious groin injury at midseason and only started 21 of the 59 games he played.
When his playing time shrunk from 28.2 minutes per game to 20.9 last season, Hollis-Jefferson’s production fell off to 8.9 points per game, 5.3 rebounds and 41.1 percent shooting, including only 18.4 percent from three-point range. Hollis-Jefferson helped spark a wild comeback win from 25 points down in the fourth quarter at Sacramento in March with 14 points in the final period, but that was the highlight of a tough season for him.