In his short time with the Warriors, wing Kelly Oubre has developed into arguably the most polarizing player on the team. Oubre has averaged 15.1 points and 6.0 rebounds, which are solid NBA numbers, but he has been inefficient in doing so, shooting 43.6% from the field and just 31.1% from the 3-point line.
He was quite good in the Warriors’ two previous games, when he shot 15-for-30 for 39 combined points, making 6-of-14 3-point tries and taking in 17 rebounds. In the two games before those, though, Oubre combined for 7-for-22 shooting, 2-for-7 from the 3-point line and 11 rebounds, scoring 17 total points.
That’s life with Oubre. You take the ups with the downs. At one point in late January, he went 1-for-11 shooting for four points and, a week later, went 14-for-21 for 40.
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What’s difficult now, though, is for the Warriors to figure out what, exactly, to do with Oubre this offseason. He will be a free agent, and there will be forced tugging on the Warriors to let him walk just as well as forces will be tugging on the team to bring him back.
Warriors Want Oubre Back, but at What Cost?
The Warriors would prefer to bring him back, according to sources. The reasoning is simple—they’re not going to do much better letting him walk and finding his replacement elsewhere. This season has shown that the Warriors are terribly lacking in depth and, because they own Oubre’s Bird rights, they are able to pay him despite being (well) over the salary cap.
There is some question, however, about how much Oubre’s teammates want him back. That came to light in the podcast from former Warriors star Andrew Bogut, Rogue Bogues, in which he claimed an unnamed player confronted Oubre about his preference to start over coming off the bench.
Unnamed Warriors player is not too happy that Kelly Oubre wouldn’t be open to a potential bench role next season. 😳😳
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) April 5, 2021
But assuming the team is past that, the Dubs’ big issue is how much to give Oubre. They took him on into the Andre Iguodala trade exception at $14.4 million, but he is likely to get a raise in what will be a seller’s market in free agency this summer. Despite remaining a poor 3-point shooter (32.6% for his career), Oubre is a good defender and is only 25 years old.
Beat writer Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported last month that league sources said Oubre could get more than $20 million on the market, though that is a bit high, according to other league executives.
“I don’t think he would get more than $20 million unless someone was really in love with him,” one GM told Heavy.com. “But if anyone liked him that much, they would have traded for him when he was available the last few years. The Suns got him for (Trevor Ariza in 2018). So it is unlikely someone will pay him that much. If he gets $16-18 million per year, that’s about right.”
The Warriors likely would be open to a price in that range. If it gets to $20-22 million? With the luxury tax the Warriors are facing—already more than $100 million—that would be too much.
Sign-and-Trade Options for Oubre?
The Warriors’ next-best option would be a sign-and-trade. They could work a deal that would deliver them another traded player exception, much like the one that delivered Oubre to the Warriors in the first place. But that would leave the Warriors in a difficult position in the interim before they used the exception. They would want to cash in the TPE before the season, which leaves limited options.
Again, depth is a huge issue, and an unused trade exception would be of little immediate value.
They could, potentially, find a partner willing to swap for Oubre, especially if the Warriors were to include some draft consideration. Terrence Ross of Orlando, for example, could be a good fit for the Warriors. Perhaps a move for Bulls veteran Thaddeus Young, Pelicans center Steven Adams or, maybe, the guy who may be the perfect candidate: Pacers big man Myles Turner.
That’s just speculation, though, and the reality is, it will be difficult to find a team eager to pay Oubre big money and give up a player, too. If Oubre prices himself out of the Warriors’ range, though, that could be what the future holds for him in Golden State.