Kelly Oubre Jr. Says Talk of Coming off Bench for Warriors 'Put Fire in My Heart'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 27: Kelly Oubre Jr. #12 of the Golden State Warriors smiles before the game against the Dallas Mavericks on April 27, 2021 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Kelly Oubre Jr. does not appear willing to take on a bench role. 

The free-agent-to-be said Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr's comments about Oubre potentially being a reserve if he returns "put fire in [his] heart." 

"It put fire in my heart. It added fuel to the fire," Oubre told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. "Being 25 years old, the way my career has shaken out, the growth that I've shown in my career, to go from the 15th pick, to continuously having numbers grow each and every year and my role and my opportunity grow each and every year, to have a year where my opportunity is lessened. Then as the year goes on, I'm put into this category of trying to [play for the future] when I haven't been able to show what I can do on the large scale, yeah, it is unfair."

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Posted Up w/ C. Haynes Pod: Pending free agent Kelly Oubre Jr. (<a href="https://twitter.com/KELLYOUBREJR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kellyoubrejr</a>) on year with Warriors, how he adjusted to diminished role, on GS wanting him to come off bench next season, playing through injury &amp; what he’s looking for in free-agency. <br><br>🎧: <a href="https://t.co/lGlXxTZvbK">https://t.co/lGlXxTZvbK</a> <a href="https://t.co/zMBZahNC0T">pic.twitter.com/zMBZahNC0T</a>

Oubre will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career next month. He spent last season in Golden State after being acquired in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 15.4 points and 6.0 rebounds.

While Oubre started 50 of his 55 games with the Warriors, Klay Thompson is due to return in 2021-22. Kerr acknowledged Oubre wouldn't have a place in the starting lineup when speaking on 95.7 The Game in March. 

"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 [Andrew] Wiggins in the starting lineup." 

95.7 The Game @957thegame

Kerr on Oubre’s future 👇 <a href="https://t.co/rRhfJmyEJu">pic.twitter.com/rRhfJmyEJu</a>

All of this sounds like grounds for divorce. It's unlikely the Warriors will want to pay an exorbitant luxury tax bill to retain a reserve, and it doesn't appear as if Oubre was particularly thrilled in his role last season to begin with.