Kelly Oubre

Kelly Oubre Discusses Hand Injury, Trade Rumors

Hornets forward Kelly Oubre, who is recovering from a procedure to repair a torn ligament in his left hand, said he would have liked to avoid surgery but ultimately decided to defer to the experts, as Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer writes.

“Dr. Carlson said that if I waited to have surgery, my finger and my ligaments would have folded up into my knuckle and I would have a sideways pinkie. And I didn’t really want that,” Oubre said. “So, it was one of those things. I had to talk to my family, talk to my coaches and the staff about. And I think the best deal was for me to get this right so I could perform at 100%.”

According to Boone, Oubre is still wearing a splint on his hand but will transition to a smaller brace next week and hopes to return to action as soon after the All-Star break as possible. He said it has been “terrible” having to watch from the sidelines so far in 2023.

“I’ve never really sat out during the season … for this amount of time,” Oubre noted. “It’s just tough, man, watching my guys put in the pain, go out there and compete, play and have fun and just win games.”

Of course, given that the 15-39 Hornets are expected to be sellers and Oubre is a veteran on an expiring contract, there’s no guarantee he’ll still be in Charlotte once he’s ready to play.

One report published almost a month ago suggested that the Suns, Cavaliers, and Raptors were among the teams with some interest in the 27-year-old before he suffered his hand injury, and a more recent report said the Hornets are engaged in trade talks involving him.

For his part, Oubre would rather stay put, stating this week that he’d love it if the Hornets opt to hang onto him.

“I hope they just keep my name out of it,” he said of the team’s trade talks, per Boone. “I’m looking for a home somewhere where I can just win, and grow, and continue to perfect my craft and also help this city, help this organization. I love everyone on this team and this staff, so I would love to stay here.

““I’m from New Orleans. The New Orleans Hornets used to be my favorite team and now I play for the Charlotte Hornets. And it couldn’t come more full circle than that. So, hopefully God has got in his plan for me to stay.”

Charania’s Latest: Anunoby, Collins, Poeltl, Hyland, More

The Knicks and Suns are among the teams interested in acquiring OG Anunoby, but it may be a few more days before the Raptors decide whether to make him available, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sources tell Charania that Toronto won’t decide whether to be a buyer or seller until close to the February 9 trade deadline. That decision will affect the availability of Anunoby, along with Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. and possibly others.

The Raptors were counting on another strong season after finishing fifth in the East last year, but they’re just 23-28 so far and stuck in 12th place. However, Toronto has won two of the first three games on its current road trip and still has a realistic shot to reach the play-in tournament.

President of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster want to take as much time as they can to evaluate the current roster before deciding whether to keep the core together or try to rebuild around Scottie Barnes. The Raptors are expected to seek a premium price if they do make their top players available, and Charania hears that the Knicks are willing to part with multiple first-round picks to land Anunoby.

The organization will also make a decision this summer on the future of head coach Nick Nurse, Charania adds. Toronto hasn’t released the details of Nurse’s most recent contract extension, but sources tell Charania it will expire after the 2023/24 season. He also hears from sources that Nurse has been the target of some of the frustrations this season, and the front office will consider whether a coaching change is in the team’s best interest.

Charania offers more inside information heading into the trade deadline:

  • The Hawks are still listening to offers for John Collins, but new head of basketball operations Landry Fields is telling teams that Collins is considered an important asset rather than a salary to dump. The Jazz remain interested in Collins, sources tell Charania, and when the teams discussed a deal early this season, Atlanta sought Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in return. Utah reportedly asked for a first-round pick as well, which caused negotiations to stall.
  • Spurs center Jakob Poeltl is getting increased interest on the trade market, and Charania believes he could be headed to an Eastern Conference team such as the Celtics or Raptors.
  • The Nuggets are holding active trade conversations regarding Bones Hyland, and sources tell Charania that the Timberwolves are among the interested teams.
  • The Hornets are engaged in trade talks regarding Mason Plumlee and Kelly Oubre, according to Charania, and the Suns, Raptors, Jazz, Pacers and Spurs are among the teams monitoring Jalen McDaniels. Charlotte may value McDaniels too highly to consider a trade, but teams with cap space are expected to target him when he becomes a free agent this summer.
  • The Jazz are also interested in Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith, and Charania reports that rival teams believe he would be available in a deal involving a star player. Executives tell Charania that Dallas has put a high price on Finney-Smith, who signed a four-year, $55MM extension last year.
  • Jaylen Nowell is strongly considering leaving the Timberwolves this summer in free agency if he doesn’t get an extension in Minnesota, according to Charania’s sources.

Spurs, Hornets Expected To Be Among Top Deadline Sellers

The Spurs and Hornets are viewed as two of the NBA’s “assured” sellers in this season’s trade market, Shams Charania of The Athletic writes in his latest Inside Pass column.

In San Antonio, veterans Jakob Poeltl, Doug McDermott, and Josh Richardson are considered the team’s top trade candidates. Poeltl and Richardson are on expiring contracts, while McDermott is under contract for one more season at the same salary he’s earning this year ($13.75MM).

Confirming a previous report indicating that Poeltl is generating significant interest, Charania says the Raptors and Celtics are among the teams that have shown interest in the big man. According to Charania, Poeltl is widely respected within the organization and the Spurs would like him to be part of their long-term future, but they’ll have to take into account his price tag as a free agent and the risk of losing him for nothing this summer.

The Spurs have had a standing extension offer of four years and $58MM (his in-season max) on the table for Poeltl since before the season, per Charania, but the center has passed on that offer and is expected to do much better on the open market. Rival executives believe he could approach $20MM per year on his next deal, Charania adds.

San Antonio will have a ton of cap room available this summer, so it’s not as if the franchise won’t have the means to retain Poeltl. However, there’s a belief among rival teams that the 27-year-old’s desire to play for a contender could be an important factor as he weighs his future, Charania notes.

As for the Hornets, Mason Plumlee, Kelly Oubre, and Jalen McDaniels – all on track for unrestricted free agency in 2023 – are considered candidates to be moved. According to Charania, Charlotte is also expected to listen to inquiries on guard Terry Rozier, even though he’s still under contract for three years beyond this one.

More sellers besides Charlotte and San Antonio figure to emerge in the coming weeks, but for now, only two other teams are with them in the NBA’s cellar, well out of play-in contention. Those teams are the Pistons and Rockets.

Multiple recent reports have suggested that Detroit has set a high asking price for veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, but the team is believed to be open to conversations. The Raptors, Lakers, Pelicans, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Mavericks are among the clubs that have registered interest in Bogdanovic, league sources tell The Athletic.

As for the Rockets, their roster isn’t exactly loaded with expendable vets. Shooting guard Eric Gordon is the team’s most obvious trade candidate, but Houston is seeking either a good young player or a first-round pick in exchange for Gordon, says Charania.

Eastern Notes: Collins, Ibaka, Barrett, Hornets

Hawks forward John Collins, one of the league’s prime trade candidates, is “comfortable” with whatever happens over the next month, he told Sam Amick of The Athletic in an extensive interview.

“I come in and I play basketball, and whatever happens, happens because I don’t control that side. I don’t have any control over any decisions that get made, where I am and where I play. I don’t have any control over that,” he said. “I can say, ‘Hey, I want to do this and I wanna do that,’ and they (the Hawks) can just do whatever they feel is fair. You saw it with Kevin Durant, right? He’s begging for trade, and Brooklyn is like, ‘Nah.’ Not saying that I’m Kevin Durant, but it’s just the mentality of ‘Yeah, you can say whatever, you can make a public scene, you can do whatever (and it won’t matter).’”

Collins, who is averaging 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per night, is in the second year of a five-year, $125MM contract with the Hawks.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bucks forward Serge Ibaka will miss the team’s road trip for personal reasons, according to coach Mike Budenholzer, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. The Bucks faced the Knicks on Monday. Milwaukee plays Atlanta and Miami (twice) before returning home. Ibaka has appeared in 16 games this season but has averaged just 11.6 minutes in those contests.
  • RJ Barrett is “real close” to returning to action, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link) and other media members. Barrett hasn’t played since departing in the first quarter against Dallas on Dec. 27 due to a lacerated finger. New York’s next game is against Indiana on Wednesday.
  • The Hornets are likely to be sellers at the trade deadline, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer opines in his latest mailbag. President of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak hasn’t made major trades during his tenure in Charlotte, but with the club floundering, players on expiring contracts such as Mason Plumlee and Kelly Oubre could be dealt to contenders.

Stein’s Latest: Bogdanovic, Gordon, Oubre, Turner, Clarkson

Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic may not be the biggest-name player to change teams prior to the February 9 trade deadline, but he seems to be the one who is the most in demand at this point, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack story.

According to Stein, the list of clubs with interest in Bogdanovic has reached double digits, even though the Pistons have been telling teams for weeks that they’d prefer not to trade their top scorer.

Although they’ve expressed reluctance to move Bogdanovic, the Pistons have also been conveying that if they do have a change of heart, the asking price would be at least an unprotected first-round pick, says Stein. A previous report suggested Detroit would seek a first-round pick plus at least one more asset. Bogdanovic’s potential suitors are hoping that the Pistons’ apparent hesitation to move the 33-year-old is a negotiating ploy and that the price will drop as the deadline nears, per Stein.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest rumor round-up:

  • Two teams have told Stein recently that the Rockets‘ asking price for Eric Gordon is similar to what the Pistons have sought for Bogdanovic. While Houston may be trying to get an unprotected first-round pick for Gordon, the club probably knows it won’t get that sort of return, according to Stein, who views it as an example of just how high prices are in general with over a month to go until the deadline and few sellers on the market.
  • The Cavaliers, Suns, and Raptors were among the teams thought to have some trade interest in Hornets wing Kelly Oubre before he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left hand, Stein writes.
  • According to Stein, Pacers big man Myles Turner and Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson have so far rebuffed extension offers from their respective teams. Stein doesn’t expect Utah to trade Clarkson even if no extension is in place by February 9, but is less sure about Indiana’s plans with Turner.

Hornets’ Kelly Oubre Undergoes Surgery On Hand

JANUARY 5: Oubre underwent a successful surgery on the torn ligament in his left hand, the Hornets have announced in a press release.

JANUARY 3: Hornets forward Kelly Oubre will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left hand, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Oubre is expected to be sidelined for approximately four-to-six weeks while recovering from the procedure, sources tell Charania.

Oubre appeared in each of the Hornets’ first 34 games of the season before missing three of the last four. However, according to Charania, the 27-year-old has been dealing with the hand injury since the first week of the season and has been attempting to play through the pain.

Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer wrote over the weekend that the Hornets were trying to come up with a plan for how to treat the injury, which was being referred to as a sprain. Head coach Steve Clifford said Oubre was “really sore” and “definitely needs time.” It sounds like Hornets doctors ultimately determined that surgery, rather than rest and treatment, will be the best path forward for Oubre.

Despite battling the injury, Oubre is averaging a career-high 20.2 points per game through 35 games (32.6 MPG) for Charlotte this season. His shooting percentage of 42.1% from the floor and 30.8% on three-pointers all well below his career marks though, which is perhaps an indication that the hand has been bothering him.

Oubre, earning $12.6MM this season, is in a contract year and had been considered a possible trade candidate if the Hornets decide to sell. The recovery timeline provided by Charania should put the forward on track to return sometime around the February 9 deadline, so he could still draw interest from teams looking for another piece in the wing.

Although Oubre’s absence is an unfortunate break for Charlotte, the club is healthier now than it has been for much of the season, with LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and Terry Rozier all available after missing time earlier in 2022/23. Point guard Dennis Smith Jr. also returned to action on Monday following an 18-game absence due to an ankle injury.

Fischer’s Latest: Cavs, LeVert, Crowder, Okoro, Bogdanovic, More

The Cavaliers would love to add a defensive-minded wing who is also a consistent shooting threat, but doing so won’t be easy, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. After acquiring Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, Cleveland no longer has any first-round picks available to trade, so landing a wing would probably require the club to move Caris LeVert and another rotation player, which isn’t an appealing prospect.

Fischer names Tobias Harris and Jae Crowder as a couple veterans who would make sense for the Cavaliers from an on-court perspective. However, Cleveland likely wouldn’t be able to put together a package for Harris that would entice the Sixers, and the Suns are seeking a “playoff-caliber player” in return for Crowder — if the Cavs had that sort of player available, they wouldn’t be in the market for another wing, Fischer writes.

Although LeVert might have to be included in a package for an upgrade on the wing, the Cavaliers still value his “high-character presence in the locker room,” per Fischer, and aren’t looking to move him, even if they’re open to discussing him. As the Cavs consider what sort of impact any potential target might have, LeVert will be the “comparative barometer,” says Fischer.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest story:

  • The Cavaliers are still hopeful about Isaac Okoro‘s development into the sort of two-way wing they’re missing and he has a strong desire to remain in Cleveland, sources tell Fischer. The fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Okoro will be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2023 offseason.
  • The Cavaliers are among the teams with interest in Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic, but Detroit has set a high asking price for Bogdanovic, according to Fischer. The team is believed to be seeking a first-round pick, plus either additional draft assets or a young player with upside. The Mavericks, Lakers, and Suns are among the other teams interested in Bogdanovic, Fischer adds.
  • Crowder, who is in the final year of his contract, is hoping to sign an extension similar to the three-year, $33MM deal P.J. Tucker got from Philadelphia this past summer, Fischer writes. The Suns‘ unwillingness to give Crowder that sort of deal is considered a factor in his decision to remain away from the team this season.
  • While forwards like P.J. Washington, Jalen McDaniels, and Kelly Oubre will draw interest from potential suitors, center Mason Plumlee appears to be the Hornets‘ most likely trade candidate, says Fischer. Moving Plumlee would open up more minutes for youngsters Mark Williams and Nick Richards at center.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Lowry, McDaniels, Oubre

A consultation with a Los Angeles doctor over the weekend resulted in good news on the state of Heat All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler‘s sore right knee, reports Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Butler sat out Miami’s narrow 126-123 victory over the Jazz last night but has been cleared to play in back-to-backs going forward, a source tells Chiang.

In 23 games this year, Butler is averaging 21.8 PPG on .528/.340/.829 shooting splits. He’s also chipping in 6.7 RPG, 5.8 APG and 2.1 SPG for the 19-18 Heat.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • $28.3MM Heat starting point guard Kyle Lowry may need to step up his game or risk being rotated out of the team’s closing lineups for good, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida South Sentinel. The 36-year-old was recently sat for the entirety of the fourth quarter in the Utah win, after experiencing consecutive down nights in back-to-back games against the Nuggets and Jazz.
  • Fourth-year Hornets reserve small forward Jalen McDaniels recently spoke with Alex Kennedy of Basketball News about his long road to major rotation time. “Playing in the G League [for much of his rookie season], it just got me real confident — just letting me play through my mistakes and play a lot of minutes,” McDaniels said. “I learned a lot of the game, coming from the G League, playing in a lot of games and just knowing what to expect. I feel like my game is just locked in and I know where I’m supposed to be.” This season, McDaniels is averaging a career-most 10.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.2 APG and 1.0 SPG in 25.9 MPG.
  • Starting Hornets small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. will be sidelined for at least a few games as he grapples with a sprained left hand, reports Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “He’s working, doing as much as he can now to try and get back,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “Hopefully we’ll know more in the next couple of days. The hand is funny, it just got banged a bunch of times, and this was twice in a short period of time. It was really sore. You could see he was struggling to catch the ball. He definitely needs time for sure.”

Lakers Notes: Davis, Trade Market, LeBron, Bryant, Christie

The foot injury that Anthony Davis suffered last week has decreased the chances that the Lakers will gamble on a major trade, multiple sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. He adds that the only exception would be if the team can acquire a young star that it believes can succeed alongside Davis over the next few years.

Even before the Davis injury, the Lakers’ front office wasn’t confident that there was a trade available that would turn the team into contenders, Buha states. He suggests the most likely current scenario is a deal that would include some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-rounder in either 2027 or 2029 in exchange for a 3-and-D wing or a combo forward.

Along with the players who have already been linked to the Lakers in trade talks, Buha’s sources point to the SunsJae Crowder, the RocketsEric Gordon, the PistonsAlec Burks, the HornetsTerry RozierP.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. and the SpursJosh Richardson and Jakob Poeltl as players to watch.

There’s more on the Lakers, all from Buha:

  • LeBron James has posted four straight 30-point games, but his playing time is starting to become a concern. He’s averaged 39.2 minutes over the past five games, and the Lakers need to be careful that they don’t rely too heavily on him. Buha notes that James, who will turn 38 next week, ranks sixth in minutes per game among players with at least 50 total games over the past two seasons.
  • The loss of Davis has been eased somewhat by the emergence of Thomas Bryant. Buha states that Bryant was considered “almost unplayable” before Davis got hurt, but he’s averaging 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in the last three games while shooting 61.1% from the field and 55.6% from three-point range. The 25-year-old center joined the Lakers during the offseason on a veteran’s minimum contract and will be a free agent again next summer.
  • Rookie shooting guard Max Christie recently moved into the rotation and may be playing well enough to stay there. The second-round pick provides a much-needed 3-and-D option for coach Darvin Ham, and he’s one of the best rebounders among the team’s guards.
  • The starting backcourt of Beverley and Dennis Schroder hasn’t performed well, and Buha wonders why Ham keeps playing them together. The Lakers are minus-50 in 161 minutes when they’re on the court at the same time, and their skills seem to be redundant.

Trade Rumors: Reddish, Fournier, Bogdanovic, Raptors, More

The Lakers have discussed trade concepts involving Knicks wings Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ian Begley of reported last week that the Lakers and Knicks discussed a potential three-team deal, so perhaps Fournier, who’s out of New York’s rotation and owed $36.86MM through 2023/24 (with a $19MM club option in ’24/25), could have been heading to the unknown team in that scenario.

Reddish was also removed from Knicks’ rotation recently and is in the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him $5.95MM this season. He’ll be a restricted free agent in 2023 if he’s issued an $8.1MM qualifying offer.

Here are some more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • Following up on the Lakers/Knicks reports, sources tell Kurt Helin of NBC Sports that Russell Westbrook‘s $47.1MM expiring salary is unlikely to be dealt due to the assets the Lakers would have to attach to move him.
  • Charania wrote earlier today that L.A. remains in pursuit of forward Bojan Bogdanovic, and are offering a protected first-round pick and salary-matching contracts. Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack article (subscriber link) that the Pistons are “insisting on a fully unprotected future first from the Lakers to seriously entertain” dealing the veteran sharpshooter.
  • Though they’re considered a less likely seller than the Bulls, rival teams are keeping a close eye on the Raptors ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “The timeline of their players don’t match,” one source said. “They have good players, but it will be interesting to see how they navigate with OG [Anunoby] and Fred [VanVleet].” VanVleet will likely decline his $22.8MM player option for ’23/24 in search of a longer-term deal, while Anunoby will almost certainly decline his own option in ’24/25, so Toronto has more time to decide what to do with him. According to Pincus’ sources, the Magic and other rebuilding clubs with cap space next summer might be worth keeping an eye on for VanVleet, who has struggled mightily with his shot this season (.360/.326/.846 splits through 21 games).
  • Perhaps the most available player amongst the Raptors‘ rotation regulars could be shooting guard Gary Trent Jr., who can also become a free agent if he declines his $18.8MM player option for ’23/24. “I don’t think they want to keep Trent,” one source told Pincus. Toronto is just 2-5 in its last seven games, including two straight losses at Orlando, and currently holds a 13-14 record.
  • Pincus suggests the Jazz might be more of a buyer than a seller after their 15-14 start to the season. He also mentions that teams are eyeing the Hornets as a seller after injuries and off-court issues ravaged the roster. According to Pincus, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre, Mason Plumlee and P.J. Washington are among the players worth watching. Washington, in particular, is reportedly seeking more money than Charlotte might be willing to offer in restricted free agency, per Pincus.