Kelly Oubre

Suns Notes: Offseason, Oubre, Johnson, Akyol

The Suns will have to decide this offseason whether they want to try to bring back known commodities like Aron Baynes, Dario Saric, and Frank Kaminsky, or whether they want to opt for an unknown commodity via cap room, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). Baynes is an unrestricted free agent, but Saric is restricted and the club holds a team option on Kaminsky.

Kelly Oubre‘s expiring contract will be another factor to watch for the Suns this fall, according to Marks. On paper, it seems like a slam dunk that Phoenix would want to make the 24-year-old wing a part of the club’s long-term future, Marks writes, but Oubre wasn’t part of the team’s 8-0 run in Orlando this summer, and there’s some positional overlap with young Suns like Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • The Suns have faced criticism for a number of their roster moves in recent years, but the club showed this summer in Orlando that the roster was built with a purpose, according to Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. Tjarks singles out last year’s drafting of Cameron Johnson at No. 11 as a decision that was panned at the time, but seems to be working out well.
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic explores what’s next for the Suns after their success in Orlando, wondering if the summer represents a jumping-off point for making Phoenix a desirable destination for NBA players.
  • Turkish wing Cenk Akyol has announced his retirement at age 33, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Akyol, the 59th overall pick in the 2005 draft, never played in the NBA, but his rights were held by the Suns, who acquired them in a 2017 trade with Atlanta.
  • Earlier today, we broke down the Suns’ odds for this Thursday’s draft lottery.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Oubre, Warriors, Lakers

The Suns are excited about the progress of Deandre Ayton during their early workouts in Orlando, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The second-year center was dealing with an injured ankle when the shutdown began, but he’s fully healthy now and feels ready to make a greater impact.

“I feel like I’m in my, damn, I don’t know, third or fourth year, and I know what I’m doing now,” Ayton said. “It’s not really me being told what to do. It’s me understanding and finding what’s available and being a playmaker. (Devin Booker) and Coach (Monty Williams) seen it so we just collaborate our differences and make things happen. Whatever is best for the team.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns haven’t given up hope that Kelly Oubre can play in Orlando, Rankin adds in the same story. Oubre has a knee issue and there have been reports that he will opt out of the restart, but general manager James Jones said this week that Oubre may be ready before the season ends. “Kelly’s doing fine,” Williams said Saturday. “He’s rehabbing. He does a little bit of court work, but for the most part, he’s on the side rehabbing and trying to get himself in tip-top (shape). He’s in good shape, but he’s not in the type of game shape that he wants to be in.”
  • Despite their historic five-year run, the Warriors‘ stars still feel like they have something to prove, Damion Lee said this week on the Runnin’ Plays podcast (hat tip to Kerith Burke of NBC Sports). “Steph (Curry) revolutionized the game,” Lee said. “But if you look at him, Klay (Thompson), Draymond (Green), a lot of guys on this team, we’re all guys that have a chip (on our shoulders).” He explained that all three players had doubters when they came into the league.
  • Dwight Howard and Danny Green both missed the Lakers’ practice Saturday for testing-related reasons, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Howard was required to take an extra COVID-19 test because he didn’t travel to Orlando with the team, while Green had an error in his last test.
  • Two Kings players who tested positive for the virus have recorded two straight negative tests and have been cleared to join the team, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports. Coach Luke Walton refused to confirm their identities, but Buddy Hield was spotted getting on a plane today, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Oubre, Warriors, Smith

Kings big man Marvin Bagley, who has been limited by various injuries throughout his first two NBA seasons, has indicated that he feels vastly improved and is ready for the season restart in Orlando, per James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

“I’m doing great,” Bagley said. “I’m 100%.” Bagley has been hampered by a broken thumb and a left foot sprain. He has logged time in only 13 games for the Kings this season.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • During a media call on Monday, Suns general manager James Jones did not rule out the prospect of Kelly Oubre Jr. to join his teammates for the league’s Orlando restart, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Oubre, the team’s starting small forward, underwent an arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for a torn meniscus on March 3 and is reportedly expected to remain sidelined through the summer.
  • Oubre, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the 2021/22 season, could be an appealing trade target for the Warriors, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Slater assesses the Suns forward’s fit with Golden State. The contracts would line up nicely: Oubre is owed $14.2MM in 2020/21, and the Warriors have a $17.2MM trade exception on their books as a result of their Andre Iguodala trade last summer.
  • New Lakers wing J.R. Smith, signed to bolster the team’s depth as a replacement for Avery Bradley, notes that he struggled with depression during the 20-month interim between his last NBA job (with the Cavaliers) and this one, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. “Being somebody who has been around the league predominately for most of their adult life, when that’s kind of taken away from you, it kind of gives you that culture shock and you obviously don’t understand what you lost until it’s gone,” Smith said.

Pacific Notes: Green, Oubre, Bagley, Lakers

Lakers teammates Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley have expressed concerns about playing in the Orlando bubble during troubled times, but Danny Green believes that NBA players can make a stronger social statement by playing. Green made his comments in an interview with Caron Butler on the NBA’s Twitter account (hat tip to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps). “I think we can use the platform to our advantage and enhance it,” Green said. “I mean, I see both sides. …  There are going to be cameras all over Orlando, so they can see exactly what we want and what we’re trying to do. So I think it’s an advantage to us to get down there and use that platform to keep the movement alive.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Although he’s not expected to be healthy enough to participate, Suns forward Kelly Oubre is grateful his team was given the opportunity to play again this season, as he told Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. He believes it will be beneficial for the club’s development. “We have to continue to get better each and every day,” he said. “We haven’t done anything yet. So our main goal should be to just lock in and just continue to just focus on getting better and coming back next year, better than ever.”
  • The Kings will likely go smaller in their starting lineup with Richaun Holmes at center and Harrison Barnes playing power forward, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic. In that scenario, Marvin Bagley III — the second overall pick in the 2018 draft — would come off the bench. Coach Luke Walton could also employ some three-guard looks in Orlando with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic on the court at the same time.
  • The Lakers have hired Dr. Karida Brown as Director of Racial Equity & Action, according to a team press release. Dr. Brown will create a curriculum to help the Lakers staff enrich their knowledge on urgent topics, as well as helping to identify ways the team can be more active and efficient in creating change.

Suns’ Oubre Expected To Remain Sidelined For Rest Of 2019/20

Suns forward Kelly Oubre isn’t expected to return to action when the 2019/20 season resumes in Orlando, reports Shams Charania of Stadium (video link).

Oubre underwent surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee on March 3, approximately a week before the NBA suspended its season. At the time, the Suns announced that he’d be re-evaluated in four weeks, though there was an expectation that he may miss the rest of the season.

With the end of the season having pushed back by several months, Oubre’s new return timeline had been unclear. However, Charania suggests that the 24-year-old still has rehab and therapy work to do on his injured knee. Although Oubre will likely travel to Orlando with the Suns, he isn’t expected to suit up for games as the club looks to make up ground in the Western Conference playoff race.

Oubre enjoyed a career year in Phoenix in 2019/20, averaging 18.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.3 SPG with a .452/.352/.780 shooting line in 56 games (34.5 MPG). He has one season left on the two-year deal he signed with the club last July.

The Suns, meanwhile, join the Spurs as Western challengers who will be without a key player when the season resumes this summer. LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the rest of ’19/20 for San Antonio after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Western Notes: Stevens, Pelicans, Nuggets, Oubre

Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens will return to active status as a team stakeholder and also rejoin the team’s executive board once this season officially ends, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic reports. Stevens received a one-year suspension and was fined $500K after he shoved and yelled at the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of last season’s Finals.

Despite reports to the contrary, Stevens was never bought out, nor was he in danger of being kicked out of the ownership group, Kawakami continues. Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob believes Stevens had a momentary lapse in judgment and has served the suspension without complaint, Kawakami adds.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans plan to reopen their practice facility in Metairie, La. next Monday, March 18, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune reports. Louisiana’s stay-at-home order prohibits the team from using the facility through Friday, when that order is set to expire. At least five teams are known to have reopened their facilities since the NBA gave the go-ahead to conduct individual workouts under supervision and safeguards.
  • The Nuggets have created virtual locker rooms to stay in touch and engaged, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Rather than staying connected via e-mails and text messages, the Nuggets have conducted a handful of team Zoom calls.
  • Suns wing Kelly Oubre Jr., who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in early March, showed explosiveness in an Instagram post, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Oubre, who wasn’t wearing a knee brace in the video, could return to action this season if it resumes, Rankin adds. Oubre will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020/21 season.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Paul, Draft, Oubre, Kaminsky

The Warriors‘ dynasty almost didn’t happen. Golden State was looking for an All-Star back in 2011 and the franchise offered Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to New Orleans in exchange for Chris Paul, Ethan Strauss writes in The Victory Machine (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports).

Paul, whose contract expired at the end of that season, reportedly told the Warriors that he would not re-sign with them, which nixed the negotiations. Paul was later dealt to the Lakers in a trade that was vetoed. He ultimately ended up on the Clippers via another trade.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • If the NBA doesn’t resume, the Warriors are guaranteed a top-five pick and Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines the team’s options with that selection. As Slater details, trading it away for a proven vet is worth exploring, especially if there are no surefire prospects in the draft, as some believe.
  • Trading down is an option for the Warriors in the draft and Slater (in the same piece) proposes a fun hypothetical deal that sends Kelly Oubre and the Suns‘ pick (projected to be No. 10) to the Warriors for their top-five pick. Oubre would fit in nicely with the team’s core and his salary would fit into the team’s $17.2MM trade exception.
  • Suns GM James Jones said that Oubre, who underwent meniscus surgery back in February, and Frank Kaminsky, who was dealing with a patella stress fracture, have both medically healed, Gina Mizell of The Athletic tweets. Both have “kind of pressed the pause button” though, as they can’t participate in traditional sports rehab.

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.