Western Notes: Oubre, Okogie, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Lakers

Veteran forward Kelly Oubre looks like the Warriors‘ top trade candidate, and he certainly didn’t hurt his value in his last game before the deadline, putting up 24 points and 10 rebounds on Tuesday in a loss to Philadelphia. With today’s deadline looming, head coach Steve Kerr praised Oubre for the way he has taken the trade rumors in stride, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes.

“I love Kelly,” Kerr said. “He’s a pro. We’ve talked a lot about his circumstances, being a free agent, having his name tossed around. It’s not an easy position to be in. But this is how it works. This is the NBA. He’s got an expiring deal, plays a position of need for a lot of teams. He’s athletic and long. He’s coveted. He’s definitely coveted. So his name is naturally going to be out there. He’s done a great job of handling everything. He’s really professional and poised and practical. So we’ll see what happens.”

Slater says he gets the sense that the Warriors want to be able to do something with Oubre’s salary slot in future seasons, as opposed to just letting him walk for nothing this offseason and not being able to replace him due to their cap situation. It remains to be seen whether that means ultimately investing in a longer-term agreement with Oubre or flipping him for another player today.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday night, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s unclear how long Okogie will have to remain in the protocols before being cleared.
  • Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal believes the Grizzlies need to make a big roster move at some point, but thinks it’s more likely to happen in the offseason or further down the road than at today’s deadline.
  • Today’s trade deadline may be the most revealing pivot point for the Pelicans under the direction of head of basketball operations David Griffin, says Scott Kuschner of NOLA.com. In particular, the club’s decision on Lonzo Ball will provide a strong hint of the way in which New Orleans wants to build its roster around Zion Williamson.
  • Some members of the Lakers organization are expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine this week, sources tell Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. More teams are starting to get access to vaccinations, including New Orleans, Atlanta, Portland, and – most recently – the Heat (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).
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