NBA Rumor: Kelly Oubre Free Agency

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Scotto on Hornets: One move Charlotte did that I think to some people came out of left field was them getting Kelly Oubre Jr. on the market. One scout put it this way, “The Oubre signing was weird. They need to keep developing Miles Bridges and give him exposure. I feel like they’re in a win-now mode. I like Mason Plumlee compared to what they had. It’s another blah center, but he’s an upgrade over Cody Zeller.”

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Oubre, for one, had several suitors vying for his services, including teams like Milwaukee, Los Angeles and the L.A. Clippers. Sure, the Charlotte Hornets offered him a hefty pay day. But there was something else that drew the athletic wing to his new organization. “It was the youth, it was the energy,” Oubre said Tuesday. “It was the uphill, positive growth that we all have been seeing from this organization over the past couple of years and it’s just me being young, energetic myself. I knew that it would be a perfect fit.”

“Yeah, definitely young, up-and-coming,” Oubre said. “I would say it’s a team that you definitely don’t want to play with and it’s a team that has a lot of talent. But once we piece it all together, once we jell, once we mesh, I think that we’ll be very scary. I do think that, respectively, we’re viewed as the little brothers right now. But age means nothing. We have the talent, we have the pieces to go out there and compete with the best each and every night.

Now, you’re going to decide your future as a free agent. What are you looking for in free agency? Kelly Oubre: I’m really just looking to make the best decision with my team and my family, that’s best for us. Obviously, I want to be a leader, and I want to continue to expand my game, grow and spread my wings. I want to continue to show all the things I’m capable of and not be put in a box. I felt like the universe was trying to put me in a box last year. It’s something that always clashes because it’s a big deal whenever I’m trying to be put in a box because I can’t be put in a box. I’m to continue to show you and prove to you why you shouldn’t put me in a box. I think that just fueled me to work harder this summer and to come back next year and be a better all-around player. As far as the business side, I can’t control that.

Kelly Oubre: The whole world knows what I'm capable of, allow me to show it

Shams Charania: Warriors free agent Kelly Oubre Jr. sits down with @Stadium: “I can’t sit here and focus on the things that go on with the suit and ties. I have to lock in on the court. I think the whole world knows what I’m capable of…allow me to show.” On learning from Steph/Draymond, more:

Kelly Oubre offers the same path for Golden State. And the list of interested parties for both players seems to keep growing, with Dallas, New York and Miami among the teams being mentioned for each talent. New York’s surplus of cap space (at least $50 million in room) makes it unlikely the Knicks would send out any assets back to their crosstown foe, and Dallas would need to cobble together several contracts to match the expected $16-22 million salary range front office figures project for Dinwiddie and Oubre.

Miami could send either Goran Dragic or Andre Iguodala back in either scenario. Both players have team options for the 2021-22 season, therefore Miami would need to exercise those options in this hypothetical. And if Golden State or Brooklyn simply lost Oubre or Dinwiddie, let’s say to Dallas for a three-year, $60 million deal, there’s a scenario where the Mavericks could send back a future second-round pick and in turn create a trade exception for the Warriors or Nets just like Hayward and Boston a year ago.

Kelly Oubre seeking long-term deal that pays him $20 million annually?

Getting a deal done, however, is a different story. While returning to the postseason for the first time since 2018 is a priority for Oubre — who had played for the Wizards and Suns before being traded to the Warriors last fall — money will obviously be a large factor. Oubre could seek a long-term deal that pays him upwards of $20 million annually, according to a league source.

But during a March 26 press conference, Oubre made headlines when he claimed he “can offer a lot more than coming off the bench.” That statement was in response to a question about whether he’d accept a bench role when Klay Thompson returns from an Achilles injury next season and led many to believe he would seek a starting job elsewhere this offseason. Those comments came a day after the Warriors decided not to deal Oubre at the NBA trade deadline despite fielding several offers for the 6-foot-7 wing. According to league sources, despite several offers from other teams, Golden State was not interested in any enough to part with Oubre.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports this week, Oubre said the assumption that he’d come off the bench if he returned to Golden State “put a fire in my heart.” “It added more fuel to the fire,” Oubre said on Chris Haynes’ Posted Up podcast. “To go from the 15th pick to continuously have my numbers grow each and every year to my role and my opportunity on the team grow each and every year, to have a year where my opportunity is lessened… it is unfair. But all I can do is my job and go play and be professional.”

Warriors not keeping Kelly Oubre?

Notably, the late surge happened after Wiseman and Kelly Oubre Jr. were lost with season-ending injuries. And it’s wholly unlikely that Oubre, a free agent, will be back. There’s a chance that the Warriors could trade Wiseman if the right deal comes up. But if you listen to Kerr, it’s not about needing to move Wiseman to get aligned correctly with the Curry era. And I agree: Curry and Wiseman’s career arcs are not necessarily in conflict.

How about adding a veteran shooting guard while the team waits for Klay to get all the way back? “I feel pretty good about some of the guys on our roster right now,” Kerr said. “Jordan Poole really came on down the stretch. Damion Lee had a helluva year. I thought (Mychal) Mulder and (Kent) Bazemore both really gave us a lot of help, helped us win games. So we’ll see how it all shakes out.” I’ll point out that there is a notable but unsurprising name that Kerr did not mention in this context: Oubre.

Kelly Oubre eyeing long-term deal

Scotto: Recently, Steve Kerr touched on Kelly Oubre saying that Klay Thompson was going to start for them when he gets back next year, and there was a question of whether Kelly would be interested in coming off the bench, and only he can answer that. Both sides will weigh their options. With that said, the sense I’ve gotten from a league source is that Oubre and his camp think they can get over $20 million (annually), and he ideally wants a long-term deal. The two-year, $30 million deal that he did when he was with the Suns is not something he’s looking to do.

Though it has been speculated that the Warriors would consider re-signing Kelly Oubre Jr. and steering him toward that role, the impending free agent has expressed little enthusiasm about coming off the bench. Poole, who turns 22 next month, seems ready to embrace such an opportunity. “Be ready to step up for wherever I’m needed,” he said. “The plan is to be at full health next year, bringing Klay back to an already talented team. If that is something that makes us more powerful, stronger, a better team, I’m all for it, whether it’s coming off the bench or whatever the situation is, I’ll make sure to be ready.”

But leave it to the man himself to speak on how much he’s enjoying his time in Phoenix and potentially staying beyond this season when he joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo. “Why would I go anywhere else?” Oubre said when asked if Phoenix was his preferred destination across the entire NBA. “I’m here, I’m getting established and I’m not a guy that really wants to be on a million teams in my tenure in the league and I just want to create a dynasty and a legacy here in Phoenix with [Deandre Ayton], [Devin Booker], [Mikal Bridges], all the guys in the locker room. It’s beautiful.”

Rivers mightily struggled during his 29 games with the Wizards. Meanwhile, there was nearly no realistic chance Oubre was returning to D.C. after this season, according to sources. The Wizards created their own suboptimal situation on the latter. They couldn’t afford to pay Oubre, a restricted free agent after this season, because of the $107.9 million on the books next season just for their four most expensive players — Wall, Beal, Porter and Ian Mahinmi, who is no longer in the rotation. Filling out the rest of their roster and re-signing someone who could earn eight figures annually on his next deal could drive them into tax territory. Paying so much in consecutive seasons for a losing team wasn’t an option.
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October 15, 2021 | 8:05 pm EDT Update