Warriors Starter Could Land on Trade Block Amid Cold Free-Agent Market

Kelly Oubre

Getty Kelly Oubre drives in a game against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Golden State Warriors could see good news in the cold free-agent market for Kelly Oubre Jr.

The team’s starting wing last season, Oubre was expected to hit free agency and land a contract in the $20 million per year range, Jessica Kleinschmidt of NBC Sports Bay Area noted earlier in the season. But with three days now passed since free agency opened up and a number of players off the board, Oubre’s market could be drying up — all to the potential benefit of the Warriors.

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Oubre’s Options Growing Smaller

As Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News reported, Oubre’s asking price has been too high for teams, and many of the potential contenders have already used up their available budgets on other options.

“Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Oubre Jr asked for too much money in free agency without the resume to back it up, a league source just told me,” Winfield wrote. “The market has cooled significantly on both with most teams out of money. Mavs ($15M) & Hornets ($14.5M) among teams w cap space.”

The 25-year-old Oubre averaged 15.4 points and 6 rebounds per game last season, a step back from the career-high of 18.7 points in the previous season with the Phoenix Suns. The Warriors have already added a pair of free agents who could make up a bit of Oubre’s scoring, Otto Porter and Nemanja Bjelica. Porter is a career 40 percent three-point shooter, while Bjelica has hit just a shade below at 38.7 percent behind the arc for his career.

With Oubre’s list of potential destinations growing smaller, Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area speculated that the athletic wing could have more value as a sign-and-trade candidate for the Warriors. There had been speculation dating back to last season’s trade deadline that this could be the preferred avenue for the Warriors, as Oubre’s expected contract would be too much for the team already in the luxury tax. As Schrock noted, a sign-and-trade would be a delicate process for the Warriors, who would need to find a partner either lacking the available cap space to sign Oubre outright or wants to get more assets out of Golden State.

Sign-and-Trade Could Help Warriors Land Vets

As Schrock noted, the complicated situation could end up playing to Golden State’s benefit. The team’s front office has been clear about the need to bring in more veteran players, with general manager Bob Myers identifying this as a primary goal of the offseason. Schrock speculated that there could be a few veterans within the same price range as Oubre and could be a good fit for the trade.

“Players like Buddy Hield, Eric Gordon, Goran Dragic and Myles Turner all make in the $18-$22 million range and could be options in a sign-and-trade for Oubre,” he wrote. “Of course, one of those teams would want to give the 25-year-old the three-years, $60million-ish contract he is looking for.”

The longer Oubre stays on the market, the greater the chance that Golden State could swing a strong deal out of a sign-and-trade, Schrock added, though it would also require Warriors owner Joe Lacob signing off on an even higher tax bill that would come with a high-priced player.

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