Warriors reportedly close to acquiring Kelly Oubre. Here’s how he fits with the team.
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It didn’t take long at all for the Golden State Warriors to lock in a wing player who can help fill the void left by injured guard Klay Thompson.
Earlier on Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Thompson will miss the entire 2020-21 season with a torn Achilles. Hours later, Wojnarowski was back on the Warriors beat with a new scoop: Golden State is close to acquiring Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kelly Oubre Jr.
It’s already been a strange offseason for Oubre Jr., 24, who was formally traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Thunder just two days ago. Assuming he officially moves to Golden State, he’ll be a pricey semi-replacement for Thompson. The Warriors are using the majority of their $17.2 million trade exception, which they got after trading Andre Iguodala, to nab Oubre Jr. The exception means Golden State doesn’t have to send a player of equal salary to match Oubre Jr.’s $14.4 million contract, which expires after this season.
However, because the Warriors are already well over the salary cap limit, ownership will have to pay a “penalty” of sorts, called a luxury tax.
Warriors will likely get a financial reprieve if revenue drops this year. Will still be substantial (north of $100M) but will get a tax break. https://t.co/cUKpQG1sQM
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 19, 2020
In essence, Oubre Jr. is an $80 million-plus addition in the eyes of ownership, though he will still earn $14.4 million for himself.
There isn’t a player in the league who could fully replace Thompson, a five-time All-Star and one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Oubre Jr., at the very least, will give the Dubs a legitimate scoring threat and a flexible defensive option, too.
Last season, Oubre Jr. averaged a career high 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. He’s always been a relatively overrated three-point shooter, though — his 35% mark in 2019-20 was also a career-high, and nowhere near the elite numbers of high-volume perimeter players.
If he plays alongside forward Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors will have two lengthy, streaky swingmen on the floor at the same time (both players stand 6-foot-7.) Depending on how you feel about lengthy, streak swingmen, that might hit you as exciting or terrifying, or both.
Crucially, Oubre Jr. is known for having, shall we say, the zaniest fashion sense in the NBA. One can only imagine what sort of fits mentorship he will provide to No. 2 pick James Wiseman.
Separate of bringing on Oubre Jr., the Warriors will have a tiny bit more money to play with in free agency; namely, they have a $5.7 million midlevel exception. NBA free agency begins Friday.