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Golden State Warriors Renounce Rights to Festus Ezeli; Now an Unrestricted Free Agent

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The former Vanderbilt center will have a new home in the 2016-17 NBA season.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Buried under the news of Kevin Durant's decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors was a bit of relatively unsurprising news to Vanderbilt Commodores fans: Festus Ezeli and Damian Jones will not be teammates in the NBA.

In NBA parlance, this means that the Warriors renounced their "right of first refusal."  Under the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement, a first-round draft pick whose team picked up its option for the fourth year becomes a restricted free agent if his team makes a qualifying offer at the Rookie-scale amount.  Being a restricted free agent means that while other teams can attempt to sign him, his original team has the right to match any offer sheet made by another team.  Since NBA teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own players, this gives a player's original team a significant advantage.

So the Warriors have renounced their rights to Festus, making him an unrestricted free agent.  The difference between the two, aside from the Warriors no longer having the right to match any contract offer from another team, is that other teams attempting to sign him won't have a cap hold if they give him an offer sheet.  For a restricted free agent, if a team other than his original team makes an offer to him, that team will incur a cap hold until the player signs (whether with the team that presented the offer sheet or with his original team), which may prevent them from signing other free agents.  But that's not the case for an unrestricted free agent.

So Festus, who averaged 7.0 ppg and 5.6 rpg for the Warriors last year, will have a new home in 2016-17.