What if I told you the Warriors could acquire a defensive wing who averages nearly 18 points per game, on solid 47 percent shooting from the field, 37 percent from deep and six rebounds per contest, for about $18 million a season?
Sounds pretty perfect right?
Those were Kelly Oubre's statistics over his last 34 games of action with the Warriors after he went through a historically rough integration into the lineup and before an injury cut short his season.
But despite those very solid numbers, the fit for Oubre with the Warriors never seemed to pass the eye test -- or the analytics test, for that matter. When playing alongside Steph Curry and the starting unit, the Warriors' offense was noticeably stagnant, and missed the normal fluidity and ball movement that we have all grown accustomed to watching.
The rangy, athletic wing has shown to be more suited for a small-ball power forward role, and for the Warriors, that position is most likely relegated to coming off the bench for the second unit.
Would the Warriors be willing to pay Oubre his likely $15-to-$20 million annual salary in order to have him be a bench player? Perhaps, if they also thought he could maintain his value and thrive in the position so that he could remain a trade asset with a valuable salary slot.
But more importantly, would Oubre want to sign with a team that he would be destined for a lesser role? Unless the money is impossible to turn down, the answer is most likely "no."
So given that it seems highly unlikely Oubre returns to the Warriors, what can the team do to ensure they don't simply lose the free agent for nothing?
Well, not a whole lot.
Unfortunately for Golden State, a sign-and-trade deal with Oubre is quite complicated and almost completely out of the Warriors' hands. The Warriors' perfect scenario for this situation would require multiple moving parts to come together that the Dubs can not dictate.
First and foremost, Oubre would have to agree to go to a team and then also agree to be part of a sign-and-trade. A lot would be up to him in that regard.
But if the money he desires is on the table, it is likely that he would agree to be part of such a deal.
The majority of the deciding factors in this process will come down to the team agreeing to terms with Oubre. There are two situations where it could work.
In one scenario, the team would have to be in a cap situation in which they couldn't sign Oubre outright without going into the tax, thus agreeing to a deal that would send salary back to the Warriors.
In another scenario, the team would see an opportunity in which they could try to squeeze assets out of the Warriors, and would sign Oubre in the hopes that the Dubs would try to recoup a trade exception or something in return.
Do not forget, the team receiving Oubre on the newly-signed deal must also be willing to accept being hard-capped for the season, like the Warriors were when they agreed to sign D'Angelo Russell in the sign-and-trade deal with Kevin Durant going to the Brooklyn Nets. This scenario would most likely eliminate quite a few teams that plan on going above that cap line with salaries this upcoming season.
A reasonable scenario could be that a team that has no plans on contending this season, or being in the luxury tax, would sign Oubre and try to get the Warriors to send future picks and perhaps a young player over to them. They could also use the opportunity to shed unwanted salary, in exchange for a trade exception. But how many teams would simply sign a player for something like 3 years and $50 million, just to do that deal?
The outcomes in which the Warriors either keep Oubre, or get something back in his departure, are very limited. Only time will tell what the future holds for the free-agent wing, and the Warriors will have to patiently sit back and watch it all unfold.