Kelly Oubre

Western Notes: Blazers, Dubljevic, Oubre, Thunder, Mavs

Montenegrin big man Bojan Dubljevic has signed a long-term extension with Spain’s Valencia Basket, reaching a deal that will add three years and a fourth-year team option to his current contract (hat tip to Sportando).

Dubljevic’s NBA rights belong to the Trail Blazers, who acquired them from Minnesota in the Jake Layman sign-and-trade last summer. Although he’s still just 28 years old, Dubljevic’s new extension with Valencia further reduces the odds that he’ll ever suit up for an NBA team. Portland seems more likely to eventually flip the veteran’s rights in another trade than to actually sign him.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Veteran agent Torrel Harris of Unique Sports Management has signed Suns forward Kelly Oubre to a management contract, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harris’ son is Sixers forward Tobias Harris, who is his father’s most recognizable client.
  • The Thunder became one of the last NBA teams to announce a plan to assist their arena workers financially, indicating in a press release that they’ll provide aid to part-time employees for games that would have worked the team’s final seven home games.
  • The Mavericks, whose training facility has been closed since March 12, have shifted their focus from basketball to community outreach amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News has the story and the details.

Western Notes: Mitchell, Kerr, Anthony, Suns

Donovan Mitchell is “extremely frustrated” with Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert after testing positive for the coronavirus, league sources told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. Gobert has apologized for his careless actions earlier in the week, prior to being the first NBA player to test positive. The team has a solid young core but how Mitchell responds when play resumes could make or break their relationship, Mannix continues. The Jazz were rising up the Western Conference standings but if this leads to locker room issues, it could have a major impact on the franchise’s playoff expectations, Mannix adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is upset at himself for not taking the coronavirus more seriously earlier this week and believes social distancing is now paramount, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. “I was coaching in a basketball game with 15,000 fans like four nights ago. So I feel like a fool,” Kerr said. “But this goes back to our human condition of denial and vulnerability. But we’ve crossed that threshold now and it’s important that everybody understands what they can do.”
  • Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony said on teammate CJ McCollum‘s podcast that he was “embarrassed” that he was a free agent for so long until Portland signed him, according to Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. “I started questioning myself why. Why? What happened? What did I do? Did I do something wrong? Was it me? Am I good? Can I still play? It was like all of these thoughts started to come in and that stuck with me for about four, five months.”
  • The Suns could have all their injured players back in action if and when the season resumes, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic relays. That group includes forward Kelly Oubre Jr., who underwent knee surgery earlier this month, and Frank Kaminsky III, who missed the last 32 games due to a knee injury. “You try to make a positive out of a negative,” GM James Jones said. “It could end up being a really good thing for us and if that’s the case, I know our guys will be excited. I know our coaches, myself, I’ll be excited to have our team full strength or close to it, contending and playing in some meaningful games.”

Oubre To Be Re-Evaluated In Four Weeks Following Meniscus Surgery

Suns forward Kelly Oubre underwent surgery on his torn meniscus in his right knee earlier today, as expected. In addition to confirming that report, the club issued an updated timeline for Oubre’s recovery, announcing he’ll be re-evaluated in four weeks, as ESPN relays.

Oubre, who was acquired mid-season last year in a trade with the Wizards, was having a career year with the Suns this season. He’s averaging 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

The timing of Oubre’s re-evaluation would leave about two weeks left in the season, so it’s possible we won’t see him return to the court this spring, especially if the Suns have fallen entirely out of the race for the eighth seed by that point.

Injury Updates: Dunn, LaVine, Curry, Oubre, Dedmon

The Bulls‘ frontcourt has been getting a little healthier lately, with Otto Porter and Wendell Carter returning to action within the last few days and Lauri Markkanen making good progress as well. However, the team isn’t in the clear yet when it comes to injuries, especially in the backcourt.

Speaking today to reporters, including K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), Bulls head coach Jim Boylen confirmed that Kris Dunn will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season. That update doesn’t come as a surprise — we heard nearly two weeks ago that Dunn’s season was in jeopardy as a result of his right MCL sprain. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer and won’t meet the starter criteria, which will reduce the value of his qualifying offer, as we detailed in that February story.

Meanwhile, the Bulls’ leading scorer, Zach LaVine, confirmed that he’ll remain on the shelf for Wednesday’s game in Minnesota after missing Monday’s contest vs. Dallas (video link via Tony Gill of NBC Sports Chicago). LaVine added that his quad strain will probably sideline him for about a week.

Here are more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • A Thursday return vs. Toronto is a possibility for Warriors star Stephen Curry, head coach Steve Kerr said today (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Curry’s return date was pushed back after he originally targeted March 1, but it sounds like he’s pretty close.
  • Suns forward Kelly Oubre will undergo surgery on his torn right meniscus, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. Oubre’s recovery timetable remains unclear — an update is expected to be provided on Wednesday, per Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release today that injured center Dewayne Dedmon (elbow) has been cleared to practice on Wednesday. GM Travis Schlenk said in an appearance on 92.9 FM in Atlanta that the Hawks “fully expect” Dedmon to be available on Friday (Twitter link via Kevin Chouinard).
  • Asked today if Derrick Rose will return this season, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was noncommittal, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “We’ll just see how he feels. I wouldn’t put that in concrete,” Casey said. “… I don’t know what he would gain from it by coming back (for the final weeks). We haven’t made that decision yet.” Rose, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Bender, Durant, Len

The Suns are looking at potential buyout candidates or free-agent additions to replace injured Kelly Oubre, according to an ESPN report. The starting forward has been diagnosed with torn meniscus in his right knee and could miss the remainder of the season. Oubre had been enjoying a breakout year, averaging 18.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Phoenix is still on the fringes of the postseason race, trailing the eighth-place Grizzlies by 4 1/2 games for the final playoff spot.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors ought to give Dragan Bender a longer look than 10 days, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Golden State officially signed the power forward to a 10-day contract on Sunday. Golden State doesn’t have any to lose by giving Bender another 10-day and then a rest-of-the-season deal to see if he can fill a second-unit role as a stretch four and rim protector for next season.
  • Warriors owner Joe Lacob remains baffled by Kevin Durant‘s decision to bolt the organization, he recently expressed in a radio interview with 95.7-FM The Game (hat tip to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area). “I can’t get mad when Kevin Durant — who I felt pretty close with — decides he’s going to leave. Which to me, made no sense,” Lacob said. “You’re (with) the best organization — I hope he thinks — in the world. Winning, other great players, the new arena. To me, there was every reason in the world to stay.”
  • Center Alex Len has been a pleasant surprise for the Kings since he was acquired from the Hawks, Greg Wissinger of the Sacramento Bee writes. Len has been a factor as a rebounder and shot-blocker in his first two games with the club, both victories. Len has an expiring $4.16MM contract.

Suns’ Kelly Oubre Diagnosed With Torn Meniscus

Suns forward Kelly Oubre has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus after undergoing an exam on his injured right knee today, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Oubre is in the process of seeking a second opinion from a specialist, Haynes adds.

There are multiple ways to treat meniscus tears, so a recovery timeline for Oubre will depend on the extent of the tear and what sort of treatment he requires. Still, the recovery period for the injury is typically measured in weeks or months, rather than days — Zion Williamson missed the first half of 2019/20 after undergoing meniscus surgery, for instance. It’s possible the injury will bring Oubre’s season to an early end.

Oubre, 24, was acquired from the Wizards by the Suns during the 2018/19 season, then signed a two-year, $30MM deal with Phoenix last summer. He was in the midst of a career year in 2019/20, with 18.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG, and a .452/.352/.780 shooting line in 56 games (34.5 MPG).

While the Suns haven’t confirmed the report of a torn meniscus, Oubre’s teammates were talking on Wednesday as if the knee injury wasn’t just a day-to-day issue, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes.

“It’s tough when you see one of your guys go down,” Aron Baynes said after Wednesday’s game. “Right now, he’s got to do the right thing for him because he needs to be able to come back whenever that is in the right shape to contribute and do what he’s done for us all season long. We all feel for him and whatever he needs to do to take care of himself right now, he’s got everyone’s support.”

Dario Saric started in Oubre’s place on Wednesday and figures to see his role increase going forward. Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are among the team’s other top candidates for a bump in minutes.

Deadline Rumors: Warriors, Oubre, Valentine, J. Robinson

The Warriors remain in the market for further deals after reaching agreement on a trade that sends D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. If nothing else happens today, more roster shake-up is expected this summer.

Antony Slater of the Athletic notes that Golden State has traded six of the 14 players on its roster in the past two weeks (Twitter link). In addition to Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans have all found new homes.

There’s more deadline-related news to pass along:

  • The Suns are listening to offers for Kelly Oubre, but aren’t close to making a deal, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Post. The Magic are among the teams that have made a call to Phoenix.
  • The Bulls aren’t any closer to trading Denzel Valentine, relays K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards are hoping to acquire Jerome Robinson from the Clippers, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. They liked Robinson in the 2018 draft, but he wound up in L.A.
  • The Knicks contacted the Pacers about point guard Aaron Holiday, according to Ian Begley of The attempt was made before Steve Mills was fired as team president, and it’s unclear if there has been any more discussion. Indiana reportedly brought up veteran forward Marcus Morris, who is headed to the Clippers, as part of the return.

Suns Taking Calls About Kelly Oubre

The Suns are receiving calls from teams interested in forward Kelly Oubre, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Stein doesn’t identify any of the teams that have inquired about Oubre or speculate about what Phoenix might want in return. The asking price figures to be steep, as the 24-year-old small forward is having a breakout year in his first full season in Phoenix, averaging career highs with 18.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting 34.6% from 3-point range.

Oubre is making $15.625MM this season and is under contract for $14.375MM in 2020/21. The Suns acquired him from the Wizards in December of 2018 along with Austin Rivers in a trade that sent Trevor Ariza to Washington.

Fournier Could Be On The Move

Magic swingman Evan Fournier is the player most likely to be moved before the trade deadline, according to an ESPN Insider report from Bobby Marks.

While there’s no indication Fournier is being shopped, a straw poll of NBA executives believe that the Magic will need to start exploring their trade options on the veteran, who is likely to leave $17.2MM on the table and opt out this summer. Orlando is currently battling for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Fournier is enjoying a career year, averaging 19.6 PPG and shooting 42.3% from long range.

Here are more nuggets from the ESPN report:

Suns Notes: Williams, Jones, Oubre, Ayton

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated spoke with Suns GM James Jones and new head coach Monty Williams in a look at the league’s youngest team, owners of a surprisingly competent 11-16 record this season. Phoenix is currently one game behind the Kings for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

Williams addressed the tactical changes he has made since his last head coaching position with the Anthony Davis-fronted Pelicans.

“In New Orleans, I made it about me a lot of times. I was a young coach,” Williams allows. “And there was a bit of pride there that got in the way and I had to address that. I don’t want to go that route anymore… We want everybody to feel so excited and good about what we’re trying to do.”

Here’s more from Phoenix:

  • In the same conversation with Spears, Jones (who won three titles as a bench shooter for the Heat and Cavaliers) asserts that he wants to make a long-term cultural shift in Phoenix, from perennial loser to perennial title contender. “I’m so deeply focused on the process because I know there’s a process that you have to undertake to become a champion,” Jones tells Spears.
  • Kelly Oubre was unsure whether or not he would be leaving the Wizards for the Suns last season after the infamous “Brooks trade” involving Phoenix, Washington and Memphis fell apart. Then, the Suns and Wizards cut out the Grizzlies completely and proceeded to move Oubre to Phoenix. “[At] the end of the day, I want to be great,” Oubre told The Athletic’s Gina Mizell. “I want to… help this organization grow.” The team now cannot picture its rebuild without the 24 year-old small forward, who has emerged as a permanent starter.
  • Suns center Deandre Ayton double-doubled in his first game back from a 25-game drug suspension. Ayton scored 18 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in a 120-99 loss to the Clippers Tuesday. In postgame comments logged by ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Ayton calls testing positive for a diuretic “the biggest mistake and unintentional mistake that happened in my life.” As Youngmisuk writes, Ayton said that he did not appeal the NBA’s suspension because he did not want to be a distraction to his team.