Warriors

Oubre reveals what he thinks of Knicks, wants in free agency

Warriors
Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre Jr. should have several suitors when NBA free agency opens.

While the Warriors have said they are interested in retaining the 25-year-old wing, a number of teams, including the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks reportedly have shown interest in signing him.

Oubre's recent comments about his first season in Golden State and Steve Kerr's desire to bring him off the bench next season appear to have dimmed his chances of returning to the Bay.

So, what is Oubre looking for in free agency this summer? The Kansas product sat down with SNY's Ian Begley and Chris Williamson to discuss.

"I'm a tenacious basketball player. I love to grow," Oubre said. "I'm looking for an organization that is growing, obviously, in the direction. I'm looking to compete for a Finals, and I'm looking to continuously get better. I want to be in a situation where it's just a family environment. Where I can come in and make that place my home for however long I sign my deal for.

"I'm just looking for [a team that plays] defense, hard-nosed defense, scrappy, fast-paced, athletic open-floor offense. That's what I thrive in. Kind of just getting after it, man. Just having a team full of hard-nosed dog individuals. That's ideal. But at the end of the day, I'll adapt to any situation I've been in because that's just what I do. I'm very versatile in that way."

 

Of course, when you think of a hard-nosed, scrappy, defensive-minded team, it's easy to picture Tom Thibodeau's revitalized Knicks. Now, the Knicks haven't been a legitimate title contender for more than two decades, but Thibodeau and the new front office appear to have the team headed in an upward trajectory.

Oubre, a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions, likes what he saw from Thibodeau's Knicks and believes he could help them if New York is indeed interested in signing him.

"Just to fit in seamlessly," Oubre said when asked what he would bring to the Knicks. "To come in and help the organization get better because they've already started the uphill trajectory of where they want to get to with this past year, you know, having a great season with Julius [Randle] balling out, RJ [Barrett] coming into his own and everybody coming in and making it a family unit. That was pretty much the biggest thing, and that's why I feel that Tom Thibodeau had a very big part in that. Like you said, just hard-nosed defense, offense, playing up and down. It's a great style of play, for sure."

The Knicks, of course, have had trouble attracting free agents in the past, but Oubre said players like him desire to play for teams like the Knicks with "great legacies."

"The legacy of the New York Knicks speaks for itself," Oubre said. "You have to look into it with this generation and the way everything is now. ... There aren't challenges being taken upon. People don't want to come and re-energize and revitalize an organization or a city because of their own reasoning, but at the end of the day, that's what the game is about. It's about playing for teams with great legacies and adding that to your own story. I don't look into [what other players think] because I don't really care about nobody else because at the end of the day, it's a blessing to be able to add that to your legacy if you have the opportunity to."

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Oubre struggled to start his Warriors tenure but righted the ship and played consistently well before injuring his wrist late in the year. In 55 games for the Warriors, Oubre averaged 15.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from 3-point range.

The Warriors do own Oubre's Bird Rights, so they can re-sign him while being over the cap. They also could look to orchestrate a sign-and-trade, but that has its own obstacles.

While Oubre figures to have several options when free agency opens, it's clear that the games he played against Thibodeau's Knicks this past season left an impression.

"Man, it was a physical game," Oubre said of the two games he played vs. the Knicks this season. "If you have five guys on the opposing team that are being physical and you don't have five guys on the other team that are being physical, one team has the advantage. And I feel like when they came to Golden State the first time we played them, they played really physical, hard-nosed defense on us. They didn't let us get to the paint, and they also drove the basketball down the lane all game long. So they got what they wanted. I think that was just a structural style of play. It was great coaching on their end to stay consistent with their game plan."

 

Oubre's NBA future is up in the air at the moment, but it sounds like the Knicks certainly have his attention as free agency nears.

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