Kelly Oubre

Southeast Notes: Hunter, Ball, Oubre, Fultz

De’Andre Hunter is eager to show he can offer more to the Hawks this season, as he told Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Hunter was limited by a knee injury last season, appearing in just 23 regular-season games and five postseason games. “I just want to show people that I got better,” Hunter said. “I’ve been working on my game as much as I can given the surgery. I want to show everyone I’m better this year.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets coach James Borrego wants LaMelo Ball to becomes the team leader at both ends of the floor, Steve Reed of The Associated Press writes. “I want him to take the reins of this program,” Borrego said. “He’s the quarterback, the floor general and for us to take that next step he must run this team, not only on the offensive end but the defensive end as well.”
  • Forward Kelly Oubre was traded to Golden State last November and had to jump right into the rotation. He’s had more time to acclimate with the Hornets after signing a two-year, $26MM deal as a free agent in early August, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer notes. “It makes a big difference,” Oubre said. “Me being able to to adjust, I didn’t really have that adjustment period last year because once I got traded I was right to work. So I’ve been here before the season, before training camp. And I’ve been blessed enough to have sit downs with coach, bonding time with the guys and pretty much just everybody getting on the same wavelength.”
  • The Magic have plenty of guard options on the roster and Markelle Fultz said it will take awhile to sort out how the pieces fit together, Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “It’s still early and I’m still trying to get a feel for everybody’s strengths and weaknesses, but as far as talent I think all of the guards here have talent,” Fultz said. “We have guys who can really score the ball, are very athletic, can compete, so I think that it’s all going to be a little bit of trial and error … of throwing different guys out there and seeing what works best. As far as what I’ve seen and how I feel, I think that all of us can play together.”

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Oubre, Dinwiddie, Lawson, Heat

In the weeks leading up to free agency, the Hornets were said to be looking to add multiple centers to their roster and were linked to top free agents like Richaun Holmes and Nerlens Noel in addition to intriguing trade candidates like Myles Turner.

The Hornets ultimately took a quieter approach to addressing the center position, accommodating a salary-dump deal for Mason Plumlee and selecting Kai Jones with the 19th pick in the draft. As Steve Reed of The Associated Press writes, president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak‘ comments to reporters on Tuesday suggested that Plumlee will probably be the starter in 2021/22 but isn’t necessarily a long-term solution.

“Our thought process was to get somebody that’s a veteran under a reasonable contract and also give these young guys a chance to grow a little bit, and maybe a year from now they’re going to be the guys that maybe we should’ve pursued this year in free agency,” Kupchak said.

As Reed notes, besides Jones, the Hornets also have young bigs like Vernon Carey and Nick Richards on the roster, so the team will be focused on developing all of them this season. In the interim, Charlotte was happy to play it safe by acquiring Plumlee rather than trying to make a big splash in free agency.

“Going into free agency, there are 30 teams and there were a couple of centers available, but you don’t know where you rank,” Kupchak said. “You don’t know what the marketplace is going to be like once free agency begins, so there’s a lot of uncertainty going in. … We felt we got somebody (Plumlee) with two years remaining who’s a proven veteran on a good financial contract.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • New Hornets forward Kelly Oubre said the team’s “youth” and “energy” drew him to Charlotte, as Rod Boone of SI.com relays. “We played against them last year on three different occasions and the way they played — the young guys, the athletic ability, the speed they play with, the way they share the basketball and shoot the basketball and then how they defend — it was fun,” Oubre said. “I’m telling you, even playing against them, it was fun to watch them play against other teams, scouting against them.”
  • Newly-signed Wizards guard Spencer Dinwiddie tells Fred Katz of The Athletic that it was excruciating waiting to see whether Washington’s sign-and-trade deal for him – which turned into a five-team trade – would ultimately come together. “They were terrible,” Dinwiddie said of the 48 hours he spent waiting. “They were terrible, because you gotta remember, this wasn’t just, ‘Oh, I’m going to the Wizards and we’re just figuring out the dollars. Is it 58 (million)? Is it 59? Is it 60?’ That wasn’t it. You had to get all these parties to agree, and if any of the parties say no, then the whole trade falls through. … I wasn’t just even relying on Brooklyn and the Wizards to negotiate. I was relying on five, six teams.”
  • Undrafted rookie guard A.J. Lawson has left the Heat‘s Summer League team to join the Hawks‘ SL roster, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. A report on draft night suggested that Lawson was expected to attend training camp with the Heat, but that no longer seems likely.

Hornets Notes: Oubre, I. Smith, Li. Ball, Summer League

Kelly Oubre‘s two-year deal with the Hornets, which was completed using cap space, is worth $12MM and $12.6MM in year two, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. That second year is only partially guaranteed for $5MM, however, so the agreement includes just $17MM in total guaranteed money.

Meanwhile, Ish Smith‘s two-year contract with the Hornets uses most of the club’s room exception, according to Smith (Twitter link). It starts at $4.5MM in 2021/22, while the $4.725MM salary for ’22/23 is non-guaranteed.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • LiAngelo Ball, who is playing for the Hornets’ Summer League team in Las Vegas, said he’s “very thankful” for the opportunity and isn’t taking it for granted, as Rod Boone of SI.com writes. Ball was supposed to play for Oklahoma City’s G League affiliate in March 2020 before the pandemic stopped the season. He impressed Charlotte’s brass while working out in the gym with his brother LaMelo Ball in recent months, Boone writes.
  • Ball’s performance in Las Vegas is one of a handful of Hornets Summer League storylines to watch, according to Jonathan M. Alexander of The Charlotte Observer, who says he’ll also be keeping an eye on James Bouknight‘s three-point shooting and how much time Kai Jones spends at center.
  • In case you missed it, the Hornets are still believed to be eyeing restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen, despite no longer having the cap room necessary to sign him to an offer sheet.

Southeast Notes: Bamba, Oubre, Gill, Wizards

Mohamed Bamba won’t play for the Magic when Summer League starts on Sunday, but he’s practicing with his teammates in Las Vegas, writes Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel. The third-year center got a path to regular minutes for the first time in his career when Orlando unloaded its veteran centers last spring and turned the position over to Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr.

“For me it was no-brainer,” Bamba said of his decision to come to Las Vegas. “We got a new coach, new system, new guys and I just wanted to get well acclimated way before training camp.”

Jamahl Mosley, who has taken over as head coach, said this week that it was encouraging to see Bamba join the team on his own. Bamba said he’s looking forward to playing under Mosley.

“He’s made it clear that my presence (on the floor) is needed, is wanted and it’s just all about getting out there and putting in the right amount of work,” Bamba said. “Practicing with the team only helps the chemistry of the team. Coming out here … I had a choice, either to stay in Orlando and work with the coaches that didn’t come to Summer League or come here and add in these good deposits from the team.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Free agent forward Kelly Oubre received offers from eight other teams before deciding to sign with the Hornets, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Oubre’s agent, Torrel Harris of Unique Sports International Management, says the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Bucks, Nuggets, Nets, Trail Blazers and Cavaliers all presented offers to Oubre.
  • Today marked the guarantee date for Wizards power forward Anthony Gill, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Gill will make $1,517,981 in 2021/22, giving Washington 13 fully guaranteed contracts. That doesn’t include center Daniel Gafford, whose $1,782,621 won’t be guaranteed until the league-wide guarantee date of January 7.
  • Wizards Summer League players Cassius Winston, Issuf Sanon and Isaiah Todd have all been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Their replacements include former NBA players Cheick Diallo and Derrick Walton Jr. (Twitter link)

Hornets Sign Kelly Oubre To Two-Year Deal

AUGUST 7: Oubre and the Hornets have now finalized a two-year, $25MM contract, agent Torrel Harris tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Charlotte announced the signing in a press release.

It appears Oubre’s starting salary will come in slightly lower than initially expected after Charlotte took on Wesley Iwundu in a trade with New Orleans.

The deal won’t feature any options, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). However, Rod Boone of SI.com (Twitter link) says the second year will be partially guaranteed and Anthony Slater of The Athletic provides the specifics, tweeting that $5MM of Oubre’s $12.6MM salary for 2022/23 will be guaranteed.


AUGUST 5: The Hornets and free agent wing Kelly Oubre are in agreement on a two-year deal that will be worth $26MM+, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

David Aldridge of The Athletic reported earlier on Thursday that the Hornets and Oubre had engaged in discussions, while Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports was first to report that the two sides were finalizing a multiyear deal expected to exceed $12MM per year.

Charlotte, one of the only NBA teams that still had the cap room necessary to make an offer worth more than the full mid-level exception ($9.5MM), had also reportedly been mulling an offer sheet for Lauri Markkanen. However, the Hornets’ agreement with Oubre will eat up most – if not all – of their remaining cap room, presumably taking an aggressive bid for the Bulls‘ restricted free agent forward off the table.

Oubre, 25, has spent time with the Wizards, Suns, and Warriors since entering the league as the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft. In 2020/21, he averaged 15.4 PPG and 6.0 RPG on .439/.316/.695 shooting in 55 games (30.7 MPG) for Golden State.

While Oubre possesses good size and athleticism for a three-and-D wing, his three-point shot has been inconsistent over the course of his career (32.6%).

Charlotte will be hoping to get the 2019/20 version of Oubre, who averaged 18.7 PPG with a .352 3PT% for the Suns. The former Kansas Jayhawk will join a talented group of Hornets forwards that includes Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington.

Since the Hornets have the ability to sign Oubre outright using their cap room and his new contract will only be for two years, it won’t be a sign-and-trade deal involving the Warriors.

Hornets Waive Caleb Martin

The Hornets have waived shooting guard Caleb Martin, according to a team press release.

Martin had a $1,782,621 salary for next season that was due to guarantee on August 15. By releasing him now, Charlotte won’t carry any dead on its cap for him in 2021/22.

Martin averaged 5.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 1.3 APG in 15.4 MPG while seeing action in 53 games. Martin, who went undrafted in 2019, appeared in 71 games the last two seasons.

The move clears some additional cap space for Charlotte to officially sign Kelly Oubre Jr., who agreed to a two-year deal on Friday.

Blazers Notes: Lillard, Free Agency, Roster, McCollum

Asked on Friday in Tokyo about the Trail Blazers‘ moves in free agency, star point guard Damian Lillard suggested that the team missed out on some of its top targets, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays.

“You never know where guys are going to end up and why they go there. You just try to have conversations and convince guys to be a part of our team,” Lillard said. “And obviously, this go around, we weren’t able to go out there and just get some of the guys that we would have liked.

“(So) you go down the list and you go through the guys that are out there that you like who haven’t committed to a team or were a part of your plans in free agency and you get the ones that want to be a part of what you’re doing. And I think that’s what we did.”

The Trail Blazers’ free agent additions include Cody Zeller, Tony Snell, and Ben McLemore. According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, the team also had interest in Nicolas Batum, and made an effort to lure Kelly Oubre to Portland with the taxpayer mid-level exception. Oubre ended up elsewhere even though Damian Lillard made a pitch to him at the end of the regular season.

“It wasn’t anything deep other than ‘Would he be open to it?’ and he said he was,” Lillard told Quick. “I liked Oubre as a complement to other guys I thought we would be able to get. We didn’t get them.”

As Quick outlines, the Blazers’ “real” offseason will begin when Lillard finishes his Olympics run and returns to Portland to evaluate the roster and assess his options. There are three roads the rest of the Blazers’ summer could take, in Quick’s view: Portland convinces Lillard that running it back and being patient is the right approach; the team makes a major trade that changes Lillard’s view of the Blazers’ trajectory; or the All-NBA guard asks to be traded.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Quick confirms that the deals Zeller, McLemore, and Snell are signing are all worth the veteran’s minimum. The Blazers still have the taxpayer mid-level exception available, but aren’t aggressively pursuing any players left on the market and will likely hang onto that exception for now, Quick adds.
  • The Blazers have 13 players projected for the regular season roster for now. They plan to enter the season with 14, but they’re keeping that 14th spot open for now to maintain flexibility, according to Quick, who notes that the spot may be useful for a trade in which Portland takes back more players than it sends out.
  • While CJ McCollum is perhaps the most obvious trade candidate on the Blazers’ roster, it doesn’t sound like he’s being actively shopped, says Quick. Quick isn’t sure whether other teams simply don’t value McCollum like the Blazers do, but says the club won’t move him just to shake up the roster — a deal would have to improve the roster. So far, no opportunities fit that bill.

Free Agent Rumors: Iguodala, Oubre, Williams, Smith

A reunion between the Warriors and defensive specialist Andre Iguodala could be in the works. Iguodala has narrowed his choices to his former team along with the Nets and Lakers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Iguodala, 37, played 63 regular-season games with the Heat this past season and averaged a modest 4.4 PPG in 21.3 MPG, with a majority of his field-goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. Iguodala won three rings in six seasons with the Warriors.

We have more free agent buzz:

  • Free agent forward Kelly Oubre is in discussions with the Hornets, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets. Oubre averaged 15.4 PPG and 6.0 RPG for Golden State last season but only made 31.6% of his 3-point attempts. The Hornets are also reportedly pondering an offer sheet to Bulls free agent Lauri Markkanen — with approximately $14MM in cap room remaining, they wouldn’t be able to sign both players unless one accepted a very team-friendly rate.
  • Before Lou Williams chose to return to the Hawks, the Lakers, Warriors and Bucks showed interest in the three-time Sixth Man of the Year award, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Williams opted for a one-year, $5MM agreement with Atlanta.
  • Free agent guard Dennis Smith Jr. won’t return to the Pistons, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. That’s no surprise, considering Detroit drafted Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick and reached an agreement with Cory Joseph after declining its team option on him.

Free Agency Rumors: Oubre, Mills, Dinwiddie, Carmelo, More

Free agent swingman Kelly Oubre received interest from the Heat after free agency began, but didn’t set a meeting with Miami because he is hoping to net a contract “well above” the mid-level exception, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (via Twitter).

Now that Miami has committed to using most of its mid-level exception on P.J. Tucker, Oubre is almost certainly off the table for the Heat, even if his asking price drops.

Here are more free agency rumors from around the NBA world:

  • Free agent sharpshooting combo guard Patty Mills has received interest from the Lakers and Nets, per Marc Stein of Substack (via Twitter). Anthony Slater of The Athletic adds (Twitter link) that the Warriors could also pursue Mills and posits that he may fetch a deal that within range of the taxpayer mid-level. Jordan Schultz of ESPN tweets that the Nets are apparently a distant third in the sweepstakes to sign Mills.
  • Jordan Schultz of ESPN reports (Twitter link) that free agent point guard Spencer Dinwiddie appears unlikely to sign with the Mavericks.
  • 37-year-old free agent forward Carmelo Anthony continues to weigh interest from the Lakers and Knicks, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).
  • Before Alex Caruso finalized his four-year agreement with the Bulls, Caruso’s camp checked back in with the Lakers and was told L.A. wouldn’t be putting a counter-offer on the table, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Sam Amick of The Athletic.
  • Newly re-signed Nuggets reserve power forward JaMychal Green fielded richer offers in free agency than the two-year, $17MM contract he ultimately signed to remain in Denver, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Singer says the Pelicans, Timberwolves, and Spurs were the other teams most interested in Green.

Luke Adams contributed to this report.

Heat Rumors: DeRozan, Oubre, Gay, Ariza, Butler

The Heat, who are reportedly considered the frontrunners to land Kyle Lowry in free agency, may also be eyeing another longtime Raptors guard.

Multiple reporters and outlets, including Marc Stein, Five Reasons Sports, and The Miami Herald (all four Twitter links), have suggested that the Heat are exploring ways to add free agent guard DeMar DeRozan. Miami has pursued DeRozan multiple times over the years, even inquiring on him earlier this season, and the veteran holds the Heat in high regard, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

However, landing DeRozan won’t be easy, since Miami has no clear pathway to acquiring both Lowry and DeRozan via sign-and-trade.

There has been some speculation about the possibility of DeRozan taking a discount to play for the Lakers or Clippers — if he’s open to that idea, it would open the door for the Heat to make a similar path. However, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said on The Alex Kennedy Podcast that he’s not sure DeRozan – who earned $27MM this past season – would be willing to settle for the mid-level.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Heat tried to acquire Kelly Oubre at this year’s trade deadline and figure to be interested in him again as a free agent, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, Jackson views it as an unlikely match, since Oubre will likely want more than mid-level money.
  • Jackson also names Rudy Gay as a free agent forward who will receive interest from the Heat this week (Twitter link). Miami may look to re-sign Trevor Ariza too, Jackson adds.
  • There’s optimism that the Heat and Jimmy Butler will be able to reach an agreement on a contract extension this offseason, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Butler’s maximum extension would be a four-year deal worth up to a projected $181MM.