The Golden State Warriors will face the Los Angeles Lakers today in the NBA’s final game on Martin Luther King Day. At 6-6, the Warriors find themselves at a crossroads where they can make a statement against the defending champions or continue to struggle as they have at times this season.
One player who has struggled to get going this season is the Warriors’ newest swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. After the All-Star guard Klay Thompson tore his right Achilles, Oubre Jr. was brought in to supplant the production that would be lost.
As stated, it’s been a struggle. After averaging a career-high in almost every category last season, 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and shooting over 35.2% from the three-point line, he’s regressed in every category and is shooting a career-low 19.7% from behind the three-point line.
While Oubre Jr.’s struggles on the court could be attributed to finding himself within the Warriors’ offense, it seems that some off-the-court challenges have begun to present themselves this season as well.
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Oubre Jr.’s Current Extortion Case
In 2019, Oubre Jr. filed a lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend. This occurred due to her allegedly trying to extort $3 million dollars from him over. Recently, his legal counsel, according to TMZ Sports, filed a brand new motion to amend some the lawsuit.
“Makena [LeDuff] demanded that Kelly pay her nearly $3 million or she would make public her false, scurrilous, and extortionate allegations by the end of the week,” per Oubre Jr.’s counsel within the newly filed motion.
Upon reading, it seems that Oubre Jr.’s new engagement and the pregnancy of his current fiancée is what they believe made LeDuff go “into a tailspin,” and thus try and “gain the upper hand in the matter.”
“Makenna has gone so far as to use an “internet phone number” [aka burner phone) to try to anonymously send a text message with a recitation of the false allegations to Kelly’s father,” Oubre’s counsel also listed. “She has presumably done so with the hopes of (1) trying to coerce Kelly’s father into pressuring Kelly to pay her the nearly $3 million to avoid the false allegations from becoming public, and (2) sending the message that she will start to disseminate the false allegations from one of Kelly’s family to another, until such time as either Kelly pays her the nearly $3 million she demanded or she makes the false allegations public.”
The hope is for Oubre Jr. to be able to turnaround his season soon. The Warriors could use another scoring punch and if Oubre Jr. is able to return to his last season form it would certainly help Golden State seem more potent.
As some fans may be ready to see him be benched, the Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, believes in Oubre Jr. and won’t change the starting lineup anytime soon.
“Obviously this slow start for Kelly is more just about a lack of flow with our starting group, and that’s something we’re trying to address,” Kerr told reporters per the Warriors’ SoundCloud. “It’s always tough to go to a new team and find your role, find your rhythm, and I think that’s what’s happened with Kelly. He’s handled it beautifully, brings a positive approach and a smile to practice every day, but I know this is eating him up inside.”
“I don’t anticipate it,” Kerr said per the Warriors SoundCloud. “It’s so early in the season. I want Kelly to gain some rhythm and some confidence. He’s a proven player. He’s been doing this for years. He’ll get going.”