Warriors HC Steve Kerr Says Kelly Oubre Jr. Is 'Coveted' Amid Trade Rumors

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, left, greets forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in San Francisco, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr confirmed forward Kelly Oubre Jr. has generated interest ahead of Thursday's 2021 NBA trade deadline. 

"He's coveted; he's naturally coveted," Kerr told reporters about Oubre after Tuesday's 108-98 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. "He's done a great job of handling everything. ... We'll see what happens."

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported Sunday the Warriors are "shopping" Oubre leading up to the deadline. Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill added Tuesday there's been "no real offers to make Golden State jump just yet."

The 25-year-old University of Kansas product struggled out of the gate with Golden State, shooting just 40.2 percent from the field across 16 January appearances, but he's been much better recently. He averaged 20.1 points in February to rank second on the team in scoring behind only Stephen Curry.

His potential future with the Dubs is cloudy, though. His two-year, $30 million contract runs out following the 2020-21 campaign, and Klay Thompson should return from injury next season to reclaim his spot in the starting lineup.

In turn, it's unlikely the Warriors would be able to compete with the offers Oubre will receive from other teams as a free agent since he'll be ticketed for a much larger role elsewhere. So it makes sense for the front office to see whether it can get some value in return before the deadline.

The New Orleans native, who put up a career-high 18.7 points per game last season with the Phoenix Suns, is averaging 15.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists across 42 appearances since arriving at Golden State as part of a November trade. The team sits ninth in the West with a 22-22 record.

"I like to perform," Oubre said in January. "My job is to go out there and perform and put on a show. Obviously, there are no fans this year, so it kind of dumbs down that element to the game, but that's part of my job. To go out there and make people feel like they're on the court or feel the energy from the court. It's an unseen element to this game that I love."

He'd represent a terrific short-term addition for a contender as he's capable of either stepping into the starting lineup or playing the spark-plug role off the bench down the stretch. And his expiring contract limits the financial impact of the move.

The situation as a whole makes Oubre one of the most likely marquee names to move before the deadline passes Thursday.