Oubre could come off Dubs' bench next season, Kerr says

Oubre, Warriors

There are fewer than 24 hours remaining before the NBA trade deadline, which means we'll soon know the fate of Kelly Oubre Jr. 

Oubre has been linked to plenty of trade rumors since the beginning of the season, and despite the Warriors really liking the 25-year-old, Golden State might end up shopping the guard at the deadline.

A lot of that decision will ride on where the Warriors front office envisions Oubre fitting next season. There's no denying the impact he has had on the team thus far. In 42 games, he's averaging 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds over 30.5 minutes per game.

But with the return of Klay Thompson, along with Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion waiting in the wings, Oubre could be reduced to a sixth man or bench option come the 2021-22 season. Steve Kerr expanded on next season's picture should the team retain Oubre during a conversation on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto and Kolsky" on Wednesday.

"[Oubre] has got a lot of perseverance," Kerr said. "He's obviously long and athletic. We've had him and Andrew [Wiggins] on the wings matching up with the opponent's two best offensive players on the perimeter all year long. Kelly has played a really important role for us.

"As it relates to next year, Klay will be back and obviously Klay will be in the starting lineup. I'd love to have Kelly back next year. If that were to happen, it would be off the bench more than likely, because we'd be looking at Klay, Steph [Curry] and Wiggins in the starting lineup." 


Whether that is a realistic assessment is partly a two-way street. Even if Golden State doesn't deal Oubre, he is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and could want to pursue options as a starter elsewhere. 

Another factor the front office will have to decide on is the cost of re-signing Oubre, which could also play into a decision to trade him.

"That's what Bob [Myers] and the front office is going through," Kerr said. "Can we afford what Kelly's going to cost next summer when you look at all the tax issues and everything else? Can he play off the bench? Will he fit in with the group that we have coming back?

"Those are all things management has to consider before they make any decision."

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All in all, the Warriors would love to keep Oubre, but logistically, it might not work. Too many questions circulate his status and his future, and Golden State likely would move him for the right deal, should one come along before the noon PT deadline Thursday.

If one doesn't, the Warriors' front office will have a tall order in deciding to bring him back, and determining what his role would be. They would also gamble on the idea that Oubre doesn't leave for a different organization in the offseason.

Oubre's scenario is a slippery one, and no matter what direction the Warriors go, the decision is far from easy.

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