MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -The Minnesota Timberwolves extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith and Chris Richard on Monday and chose to let Sebastian Telfair and Kirk Snyder become unrestricted free agents.
The moves were a formality the team had to go through with the start of the free agent bidding period beginning on Tuesday.
By qualifying Gomes, Smith and Richard, the Wolves retained their right of first refusal for all three players. That means they will have the option of matching any offer the players get from another team.
Gomes was acquired from Boston in last year's deal for Kevin Garnett. The versatile forward averaged career highs in points (12.6), rebounds (5.8) and assists (1.8) in his first season in Minnesota. He spent time at both small- and power-forward and is well-liked in the locker room.
Gomes said last weekend that he would like to return to Minnesota, and all signs point to that happening.
``You always want to go somewhere you're wanted,'' Gomes said.
Smith was a second-round pick two years ago who has become a reliable offensive forward off the bench. The undersized power averaged 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds last season.
Richard, a second-round pick out of Florida a year ago, spent some time in the NBDL and played sparingly in his rookie season.
The Timberwolves did not extend a qualifying offer to Telfair because they would have had to pay the point guard $3.5 million next season. The team still wants to get a deal done with Telfair, who is entering his fifth season and played well when Randy Foye missed most of the first half of the season with a knee injury.
Telfair averaged 9.3 points, a career-high 5.9 assists and 1.8 turnovers last season and was the only other point guard on the roster behind Foye after the Wolves traded the draft rights to O.J. Mayo and Marko Jaric to Memphis on Thursday as part of a deal that landed them Kevin Love and Mike Miller.
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