The Golden State Warriors made a significant commitment to Kelly Oubre Jr. at the trade deadline, reportedly turning down potential offers in the hope that Oubre could serve as a key piece to a playoff run.
The decision never brought the desired results, with Oubre missing the final leg of the season due to injury and the Warriors failing to advance out of the league’s new play-in tournament that determined the final two seeds. The Warriors will now have another decision to make, with Oubre headed toward free agency but the Warriors still holding a few options for him. One insider believes the team could regain some value by using Oubre in a sign-and-trade deal, though admitted it could be a challenge to put together.
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Oubre Likely Headed Elsewhere
As Wes Goldberg of the Mercury News reported, it appears that Oubre will be done after one season in Golden State. Oubre slid into a starting role this season and became the team’s second scoring option behind Steph Curry, ultimately averaging 15.4 points per game on 44 percent shooting including 31.6 percent from behind the three-point arc. As Goldberg noted, Oubre missed 24 of his first 25 shots from behind the arc to start the season, but recovered nicely after this.
The Warriors reportedly had a chance to flip Oubre at the trade deadline in exchange for a player who could help more in the coming season, when Klay Thompson is expected to return and the Warriors are looking to jump back into title contention. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that the Brooklyn Nets offered injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie, but Warriors passed on the offer because they hoped that Oubre would help push the team on a playoff run this year.
As Goldberg noted, Oubre sees himself as a starter, but he would likely need to come off the bench for the Warriors once Thompson returns. He added that Oubre struggled when playing alongside Curry, which made it even more likely that he would play with the second unit should he return to Golden State next season.
“When Curry and Oubre shared the floor, the Warriors were outscored by 0.8 points per game,” Goldberg wrote. “Leave Curry and take Oubre off the court, and the Warriors outscored opponents by 4.6 points per game. That’s a 5.4-point swing.”
Warriors May Try to Squeeze Value Before He’s Gone
As Goldberg noted, there could still be a chance for the Warriors to squeeze some value out of Oubre, even if he does end up elsewhere next season. The Warriors acquired Oubre’s Bird rights in trading for him last year, Goldberg added, giving them the flexibility to offer him a contract over the salary cap and potentially trade him. Finding a partner could be more of a challenge, he wrote.
“If Oubre decides to play elsewhere, Golden State could sign him to a contract then trade him to his preferred destination for a player (or players) making the same salary. This is likely the best-case scenario for the Warriors, but is dependent on Oubre wanting to go to a team that doesn’t have the cap space to sign him outright and that team wanting Oubre enough to part with another player currently on its roster, not to mention the Warriors wanting that player.”
Goldberg speculated that the Warriors could look for a guard to complement Curry and Thompson, looking for someone like Eric Bledsoe out of New Orleans or Ricky Rubio from Minnesota. There is also reportedly interest in Oubre in free agency.