Kelly Oubre Jr. might be the biggest steal of the offseason for the Golden State Warriors as he helps them build for the future.
After acquiring Kelly Oubre from the Oklahoma City Thunder, some feel that this move not only represents the opportunity to continue the Golden State Warriors push towards championship contention but build for the future as well.
Oubre is entering the 2020-21 season on a high after registering career totals in points, rebounds and 3-point shooting in the coronavirus hit 2019-20 campaign with the Phoenix Suns.
However, not only does Oubre help replace some of the production missing due to Klay Thompson’s Achilles injury he could be in line to earn a long-term contract as the key part of the future.
As the Warriors approach the backend of Steph Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green’s prime, the Dubs will need to find stars to compliment second overall pick James Wiseman as Joe Lacob, Steve Kerr and Bob Myers look for a seamless transition to the future.
It is no secret the Warriors are already making preparations for the post Curry era and have molded the franchise to sustain success like San Antonio maintained a nearly two-decade period of success transitioning from the David Robinson era to the Tim Duncan era and eventually the Kawhi Leonard era.
A core of Wiseman, Oubre, whoever the Warriors manage to claim with they expect lottery pick via the Minnesota Timberwolves in the deep 2021 NBA draft class and two very good complementary pieces in Andrew Wiggins and Eric Paschall would likely keep the Dubs in title contention in the post Curry era.
Although Oubre looks like a tremendous long-term fit in San Francisco, it may financially be difficult. On a healthy Warriors roster, he would make for a versatile and dynamic sixth man. Alternatively, Oubre could claim their role of the Dubs starting small forward if Wiggins were to be traded, but financially it could be a problem.
Oubre is owed $14.4 million this season, and that figure would cost the Dubs more than $60 million in luxury tax payments if the NBA were to hit its revenue goals, which is unlikely given the coronavirus pandemic impacting league finances. The former Phoenix Sun will play a large role with a competent Warriors team, which will boost his value around the NBA and he’ll enter free agency next offseason at just 25 years old.
Although the Warriors will be way over the NBA’s salary cap in the 2021-22 season, the Dubs acquired Oubre’s Bird rights in the trade with the Thunder. This means that even though the Dubs are already way over the salary cap, they will be able to offer Oubre anything he wants in free agency, all the way up to a max contract. Although they will only be able to offer minimum contracts and exceptions to free agents outside of the organization.
Given Oubre’s prowess as a slasher, deep shooter and above-average perimeter defender he’ll command a sizeable sum, and that sizeable sum will be multiplied
for a Warriors team that already owes more than $139 million to Thompson, Wiggins, Curry and Green next year.
However, that may not necessarily be an issue for the Warriors. Joe Lacob has regularly been willing to spend heavily and fork out the luxury tax in pursuit of a championship and recently to trade for Oubre this year. This is despite Thompson being out for the season, further highlighting Lacob’s willingness to spend.
It is safe to assume that Lacob would once again be willing to spend heavily on the luxury tax again next year, should it enhance the Warriors’ chances of claiming a fourth title with this core of players. A healthy Thompson, a full season in the system under the belt of Wiggins and a more developed Wiseman.
With 72 games awaiting Oubre, he’ll have the chance to earn a long-term and remain in the Bay. Given the Warriors’ willingness to spend big money keepIng Oubre wouldn’t be shocking, even if it would result in a historic tax payout.