With the imminent return of Klay Thompson to the lineup, the Golden State Warriors are all but certain to have a substantial say in who hoists the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy after next year’s NBA Finals.
In fact, it is more accurate to say the roster’s ultimate make-up remains a series of open questions — one of the biggest of which involves the fate of free agent Kelly Oubre.
Drew Shiller, of Yahoo Sports, reported on Thursday, June 10, that Oubre has garnered serious interest from at least three other franchises: the Miami Heat, the San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks.
Shiller cited an article published by his Yahoo Sports colleague, Vincent Goodwill, who named all three teams as both interested and potential destinations for the 29-year-old small forward.
“According to league sources, Miami, San Antonio and the New York Knicks are among the teams interested in Oubre in free agency,” Goodwill wrote. “And it’s easy to see him, at his best, fitting into those places.”
Oubre Has Expressed Interest in Returning to Warriors
For his part, Oubre has expressed interest in remaining with the Warriors into the future.
The question is, what kind of flexibility will Golden State have to make that happen? Even Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers could not say for certain on the eve of the Warriors’ season.
“I don’t know what his market will be, I don’t know what our ability will be,” Myers told reporters in late May. “He did make it clear he’d like to be here. He did say that.”
Oubre’s shine on remaining with Golden State may wane depending on what his role would look like next year. His minutes are likely to drop with the inevitable return of Thompson to the starting lineup.
Oubre averaged 15.4 points per game, along with six rebounds, over 55 outings in what was primarily a starting role throughout the course of the season. He started all but five of those contests.
However, the small forward was also hampered by injury down what proved to be a fantastic stretch for Golden State, who found their rhythm with Oubre in street clothes, falling an overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies short of earning the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Warriors Could Make a Host of Moves This Offseason
Free agency does not open until Aug. 2, but the Warriors have a great many potential cards to play in the upcoming offseason beyond free agent signings.
If they so choose, Golden State could put rookie James Wiseman on the market in a “win now” move, as their corps trio are all on the wrong side of 30 and getting older. The skilled, yet extremely raw, big man would likely fetch a high price on the open market and could be used in a move to try to acquire Washington Wizard Bradley Beal, who is entering the final year of his contract.
Players of Beal’s caliber remain within the Warriors reach not only because of the chip Wiseman could prove to be in a trade, but also because of a high draft pick Golden State has a good chance of receiving from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The pick is top-3 protected, but it is also guaranteed to fall within the top 10. If it comes down anywhere between picks No. 4 and No. 10, it will be the Warriors’ to use how they see fit in a draft that many analysts believe will produce six or seven high-level NBA players.
Any team would have to listen to a package that involved Wiseman and a top pick in an upper-end draft, especially for an elite player who may be on his way out the door regardless. This is all to say that several situations could unfold in which the Warriors would need to dedicate cap space to a player more capable of helping them win a championship than Oubre has yet proven to be.
Only time will tell.