Kelly Oubre

Kelly Oubre Signs One-Year Contract With Sixers

SEPTEMBER 26: Oubre has officially signed with the Sixers, the team confirmed today in a press release. Philadelphia announced in the same release that it has waived Marcus Bagley. The corresponding move was necessary because the team had a full 21-man roster.

SEPTEMBER 18: Veteran forward Kelly Oubre is signing a one-year contract with the Sixers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Oubre was one of the last prominent free agents on the market. He struggled to find a contract to his liking in free agency despite averaging a career-best 20.3 points to go along with 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game in 48 appearances (32.3 MPG) last season with the Hornets.

He’s signing for the veteran’s minimum, Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports tweets. Having been in the league for eight seasons, Oubre is in line for a salary of $2,891,467.

Oubre spent the last two seasons in Charlotte and has also had stints with Washington, Phoenix and Golden State. In 527 career games, he has averaged 12.8 points in 25.8 minutes. The main drawback in his offensive game remains his spotty 3-point shooting (33.0% for his career, 31.9% last season).

The addition of Oubre will give the Sixers a full 21-man camp roster. If his deal is fully guaranteed, it would give Philadelphia 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts.

Given the uncertainty of James Harden‘s status, Oubre could be in line for major minutes. Philadelphia has a projected lineup of Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, P.J. Tucker and Joel Embiid. Their wing depth consists mainly of Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House and De’Anthony Melton.

The Sixers were not among the teams rumored to be interested in Oubre. The Cavaliers, Mavericks and Heat were mentioned, but this could be an even better opportunity for him.

Atlantic Notes: Oubre, Long Island Nets, Raptors, Maker

It took a while for Kelly Oubre to find a home in free agency, but he eventually landed with the Sixers. The Athletic’s John Hollinger explores what the Oubre signing means for Philadelphia and how he fits into the rotation.

According to Hollinger, Oubre was hoping to cash in after averaging over 20 points per game with the Hornets, but that didn’t happen and he wound up taking his time in free agency so he could sign with a club with available minutes on the wing. Still, his scoring abilities could be crucial for a Philadelphia team looking for more offensive threats. As Hollinger notes, Boston largely ignored P.J. Tucker on that end of the court in the playoffs, so Oubre could help remedy those woes.

Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports also breaks down the Oubre signing, suggesting that Oubre instantly becomes one of the only true wings on the roster, joining Danuel House. Philadelphia was in need of someone with the confidence to take shots like Oubre has, Neubeck adds.

However, Neubeck argues that Oubre has his fair share of weaknesses that Philadelphia will need to work around, namely his play-making ability and his efficiency from downtown. All in all, the signing for the veteran’s minimum is a low-risk, high-reward situation, Neubeck says, and he’ll either become a valued rotation piece or can simply hit free agency again next year. Hollinger notes that the Sixers with Oubre will have 16 players on standard contracts and any one of Danny Green, Filip Petrusev or Montrezl Harrell could be on the way out due to either partial or non-guarantees (Green, Petrusev) or injury (Harrell).

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, acquired the returning player rights to Troy Baxter Jr. from the Indiana Mad Ants in exchange for the returning player rights to Thon Maker, according to a team release. Baxter played for several G League teams in 2021/22, averaging 4.6 points and then played the ’22/23 season overseas. Maker spent 22 games with Long Island last season and averaged 7.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. As we’ve noted before, G League trades before NBA training camps sometimes indicate those players signing Exhibit 10 deals with that G League team’s parent club. Another important note is that these deals don’t necessarily mean these players will suit up with these teams, but the Nets and Pacers now hold the G League rights to Baxter and Maker, respectively, if they choose to play in the league.
  • The Raptors 905, Toronto’s affiliate, acquired Thon Maker‘s cousin, Makur Maker, in a separate G League trade on Wednesday, tweets Sportsnet’s Blake Murphy. The Raptors 905 sent out Ryan Hawkins and a future first-round pick to the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s affiliate, in the trade. Maker averaged 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 44 regular season and Showcase Cup games last year with the Go-Go while Hawkins put up 5.0 PPG in 49 games with the Raptors 905.
  • Raptors fans seem split on the team’s outlook for the upcoming season, according to the results of a poll conducted by The Athletic’s Eric Koreen. Koreen’s poll features several questions, including opinions on players and coaches. 84.3% of the 1,061 respondents said that the Raptors were right to fire Nick Nurse after last season, and 56.4% of 1,064 respondents said they wanted to see a new offensive scheme the most from the new staff. The full results of the poll can be found here.

Heat Frontrunner For Kelly Oubre?

Teams around the league expect free agent wing Kelly Oubre to eventually sign with the Heat, according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein, who publishes his articles on Substack.

However, there’s an important caveat: Miami would need to trade for Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard first. As Stein writes, the Heat would likely have a hole on the wing if they can pull off a Lillard deal, and Oubre could help fill that void.

Oubre, 27, is the highest-ranked player left on our list of 2023’s top-50 free agents, coming in at No. 27. He averaged 20.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals on .431/.319/.760 shooting in 48 games (32.3 minutes) for Charlotte last season.

Unless they can shed a significant amount of salary, the Heat will be limited to a minimum-salary offer for Oubre, which would be just shy of $2.9MM for a player with his amount of experience (he just finished his eighth NBA season). That’s a significant pay cut — Oubre has earned $12MM or more in each of the past four seasons.

Miami isn’t expected to have access to the taxpayer mid-level exception (a maximum of $10.25MM over two years) due to its proximity to the second tax apron, and it used its bi-annual exception last season to sign Kevin Love. As the name implies, the bi-annual exception can’t be used in consecutive years.

Still, the fact that Oubre remains unsigned likely means there hasn’t been much of a market for him above the veteran’s minimum to this point — otherwise, he presumably would have landed with a team already. The Cavaliers and Mavericks are rumored to have shown some level of interest in the former first-round pick, but obviously nothing has come to fruition.

Only Two Of Our Top 50 Free Agents Remain Unsigned

After big man Christian Wood officially signed with the Lakers on Wednesday, only two players on our list of 2023’s top 50 free agents remain unsigned: Kelly Oubre and Hamidou Diallo.

The 15th pick of the 2015 draft, Oubre has earned at least $12MM in each of the past four seasons. He averaged a career-high 20.3 points in 48 appearances with the Hornets last season while snatching 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.

Oubre certainly has positive traits, with prototypical size for a guard/forward (6’7″ with a 7’2″ wingspan) and plus athleticism. However, he has struggled to score efficiently throughout his career, posting a subpar 53.4 true shooting percentage in 2022/23. He also averaged 17.1 shot attempts against 1.1 assists last season — an alarmingly poor ratio.

There haven’t been many rumors regarding potential suitors for Oubre, with the Cavaliers, Mavericks and Heat among the teams that have been mentioned, though all three can only make relatively modest financial offers.

There has been even less buzz for the No. 43 player on our list, former Pistons wing Diallo. Like Oubre, Diallo is a high-flying athlete who struggles at times with decision-making, and his role was cut back somewhat in 2022/23.

Diallo converted a career-high 57.3% from the field last season after basically abandoning the three-ball. He’s also a plus defender and rebounder who plays with a lot of energy, but his game is certainly unconventional for a wing.

Detroit renounced the 25-year-old’s cap hold to operate below the cap and use room, so a reunion is unlikely. It might be difficult for Diallo to match the $5.2MM he made each of the past two seasons at this point, given how much money has been spent and how few roster spots are available around the league.

Jaylen Nowell (Wolves), Kendrick Nunn (Wizards), Terence Davis (Kings) and Javonte Green (Bulls) are among the other free agents we considered for our top-50 list who remain unsigned.

And-Ones: Washington, Available FAs, Player Tiers, CBA

Exploring possible destinations for some of the top remaining free agents, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggests that many people around the league think that P.J. Washington – the only standard restricted free agent still on the board – will eventually accept his qualifying offer from the Hornets. Pincus also confirms that the Lakers have conveyed interest in big man Christian Wood.

In considering a potential landing spot for Kelly Oubre, who averaged more than 20 points per game last season, Pincus notes that Memphis makes some sense. While it’s not clear if the Grizzlies have actually expressed interest in Oubre, Pincus points out that they haven’t really replaced Dillon Brooks at forward and have some young players – such as Ziaire Williams or Josh Christopher – who might appeal to the Hornets in a sign-and-trade scenario.

Here are a few more odds and ends from the league:

  • Seth Partnow of The Athletic has published the first two installments of his player tier rankings for the 2023/24 season. Breaking down the top 125 players of the league into five tiers, Partnow lists 45 players in tier five – including Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson and Raptors forward Scottie Barnes – and 41 more in tier four, such as Kings center Domantas Sabonis, Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, and Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Partnow’s top three tiers will consist of 39 players and will presumably be posted later this week.
  • Now that hoarding cap room into the regular season is no longer a viable strategy, Rob Mahoney of The Ringer wonders how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will change the way that rebuilding teams approach future offseasons.
  • With no sign that the Damian Lillard or James Harden situations will be resolved anytime soon, John Hollinger of The Athletic questions whether the NBA’s player empowerment era has reached its ceiling. During the last several years, stars who ask for trades have sought increasingly specific destinations despite having less and less leverage, Hollinger observes, adding that the outcomes for Lillard and Harden could create new benchmarks for future star trade requests.

Cavaliers Notes: L. Nance Jr., P. Nance, Travers, Roster Opening

In an appearance on the Wine and Gold Talk podcastLarry Nance Jr. said he feels fortunate that his younger brother will get a chance to carry on the family tradition of playing for the Cavaliers. Pete Nance will reportedly be offered an Exhibit 10 contract after being part of the Cavs’ Summer League team. Nance Jr. played several seasons in Cleveland, and his father was a star with the Cavaliers in the 1980s and ’90s.

Nance Jr. was in Las Vegas to watch his Pelicans teammates in action as well as his younger brother, who is trying to earn a spot in the NBA as an undrafted prospect. He believes his brother can succeed at the professional level and offered him some advice on how to deal with his first Summer League.

“We talk all the time,” Nance Jr. said. “Going into Summer League, I think the biggest thing I told him was, he had such momentum, coming off obviously a rough college season, but then the momentum he built going into draft workouts and then being (at the draft combine) in Chicago training for it, just carrying that over into Summer League was great. Just go be aggressive, shoot your shots when you decide you want to shoot them and play your game.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Nance also talked about the circumstances that led to him being traded to Portland prior to the 2021/22 season. The team had just drafted Evan Mobley, whom Nance said was obviously headed for stardom, and gave a five-year extension to Jarrett Allen. With Kevin Love also on the roster, Nance didn’t believe he would get regular rotation minutes if he stayed in Cleveland. “It had gone from me really enjoying playing the Larry Nance Jr. thing, in my dad’s footsteps … and at a certain point it became a little redundant. I still loved being in Cleveland, still loved having my family around and loved playing for the Cavs, but I needed to step away from all this and go play on a playoff team and really go show what I’ve got.”
  • The Cavaliers and Luke Travers reached a mutual decision that he will continue to play in Australia, he told Australian media outlet Code Sports (hat tip to Mike Battaglino of Cavaliers Nation). A second-round pick in 2022, Travers was one of the Cavs’ top players in Las Vegas as they won the Summer League title. “The talk is just one more year (in the NBL) and hopefully it’s a good one,” he said. “To be able to come back, it’s what I wanted to do to continue to develop my game in Melbourne and I’m coming here to win. Coming over here, there’s a lot of clarity. They (Cleveland and Melbourne United) have been awesome about it, so getting that (uncertainty) out of the way makes everything else easier.”
  • In a subscriber-only story, Chris Fedor of looks at 10 possible free agent options for the Cavaliers with their open roster spot, including Kelly Oubre, Terrence Ross, Derrick Jones and T.J. Warren.

Heat Notes: Lillard, Cain, Audige, Free Agents, Roster

As of Friday afternoon, nothing appeared to be imminent regarding a possible Damian Lillard trade, reports Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

According to Jackson, the Trail Blazers‘ front office is currently on vacation and has shown no inclination to comply with Lillard’s trade request to the Heat. That said, Lillard remains focused on landing in Miami and doesn’t plan expand his list to include additional teams, a person with knowledge of the situation tells Jackson.

Jackson believes the Blazers may have spurred the league to investigate Lillard’s request and the comments made by his agent (Aaron Goodwin) in order to drum up trade interest, hence the NBA’s memo on Friday. Since Lillard and Goodwin told the league the star guard would fulfill his contract and play for any team that trades for him, the Heat will have to hope rival teams don’t decide to make “legitimate trade offers” for the 33-year-old, Jackson observes (Twitter links).

If Portland decides to wait until midseason to move Lillard, that could work against the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman notes, the Nets received far more in return for Kevin Durant at the February trade deadline than the rumored offers they were receiving last summer for the superstar forward.

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • The Heat are interested in bringing back Jamal Cain on a two-way contract, which is why they gave him a qualifying offer, but the young forward hopes to land a standard deal and continues to discuss that possibility with other teams, Jackson writes. Miami could match a potential offer sheet for Cain since he’s a restricted free agent.
  • Miami is interested in signing former Northwestern guard Chase Audige, who played for the Heat’s Summer League team, to a training camp contract, but his agent declined to say whether or not Audige would accept the offer, Jackson adds. As a senior for the Wildcats in 2022/23, the 6’4″ Audige averaged 14.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.9 APG and 2.4 SPG in 34 games (34.4 MPG), though he struggled with scoring efficiency (.368/.325/.832 shooting line).
  • The Heat have had discussions with Goran Dragic‘s representatives about a possible reunion, but a potential deal likely wouldn’t come to fruition until later this summer, according to Jackson. The veteran free agent guard made his lone All-Star appearance with the Heat, but he’s 37 years old and dealt with a knee problem last season that required surgery. The Heat can only offer the veteran’s minimum, which may take them out of the running for free agents like Christian Wood and Kelly Oubre, who are looking for more money, per Jackson.
  • In a mailbag for The Miami Herald, Anthony Chiang answers questions about the Heat’s roster and how the new second apron might affect the team going forward.

Cavaliers Continue To Eye Free Agent Market

The Cavaliers remain interested in adding at least one more free agent to their roster before training camp, sources tell Chris Fedor of (subscriber link). According to Fedor, the team isn’t targeting any specific position and is simply focused on “playable depth.”

As Fedor outlines, the Cavaliers currently have 12 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Sam Merrill on a non-guaranteed deal. The club has about $3MM in breathing room below the luxury tax line and has no interest in becoming a taxpayer, so the 15th roster spot will probably remain open to start the season. In all likelihood, the Cavs would add one more player on a minimum-salary contract (or two, if Merrill is cut) in order to set the regular season roster.

Sources tell Fedor that Cleveland has registered interest in some of the top unrestricted free agents still available on the open market, including forward Kelly Oubre and center Christian Wood. Oubre was viewed as the Cavs’ Plan B if they hadn’t been able to land Max Strus via sign-and-trade, Fedor adds.

Fedor also mentions restricted free agent P.J. Washington, noting that the Cavs might have enough expendable salary (starting with Ricky Rubio and Dean Wade) to build a sign-and-trade package for the Hornets forward. However, I don’t see a scenario in which Cleveland could put together an offer that appeals to Charlotte, pays Washington the sort of money he’s seeking, and keeps the Cavs out of the tax.

Cleveland’s next signing will probably be a “minor” one, Fedor acknowledges, with the team looking to land a “cheaper-than-expected” rotation player at the veteran’s minimum like Golden State did with Dario Saric.

Free Agent Rumors: Oubre, Jones, Brooks, Smith, Giles

The Mavericks are actively looking to improve their roster and have shown “exploratory interest in several free agent forwards,” including veterans Kelly Oubre and Derrick Jones Jr., league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Although Dallas technically still has a good chunk of its full mid-level exception available, the team has yet to sign first-rounder Olivier-Maxence Prosper, and once that occurs the Mavs will be pretty close to the luxury tax line. They do have an open standard roster spot and could offer a free agent more money than the veteran’s minimum, but not much more unless other moves are made.

On a related note, Scotto confirms that the Mavs continue to shop Tim Hardaway Jr. and JaVale McGee in trade talks. Recent rumors have indicated Dallas tried to package Hardaway and McGee to the Pistons for Bojan Bogdanovic and Killian Hayes.

Scotto hears Detroit was looking for “essentially two first-round picks” in exchange for Bogdanovic last season, though Hayes could available with a glut of guards on the Pistons’ roster.

Here are more free agent rumors from Scotto:

  • Free agent guard Armoni Brooks, who has been playing well for the Nets in Summer League, could be a candidate for a two-way deal from Brooklyn, according to Scotto. However, if that doesn’t transpire, the 25-year-old has also drawn interest from “multiple EuroLeague teams,” Scotto reports. Brooks holds two years of NBA experience with the Rockets and Raptors. He played for Atlanta’s G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks, in 2022/23.
  • League sources tell Scotto that the Hornets offered Dennis Smith Jr. more than the veteran’s minimum to return to Charlotte, but the Nets reached out to the point guard right after free agency opened and he saw an opportunity for more playing time in Brooklyn. The fact that he was a priority for the Nets also appealed to the former lottery pick, says Scotto.
  • The Pistons, Cavaliers, Knicks and Bucks were among the teams who watched Harry Giles‘ recent workout in Las Vegas, sources tell Scotto. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News recently reported that members of the Timberwolves attended as well, which Scotto confirms. A former first-round pick, Giles has been out of the league the past two seasons after playing with the Kings and Trail Blazers from 2018-21. Still just 25 years old, Giles recently discussed his attempt to make it back into the NBA.

Southeast Notes: Oubre, Poole, Vukcevic, Magic

An abundance of wing players makes it unlikely that the Hornets will re-sign Kelly Oubre, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The free agent forward has expressed a desire to stay in Charlotte and was a valuable contributor last season, but there may not be enough playing time for him with the new roster.

The addition of No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller and the expected return of Miles Bridges reduce the need for Oubre, Boone adds. Gordon Hayward will be back for another season unless the Hornets can find a taker for his $31.5MM expiring contract, and Cody Martin and Bryce McGowens will also compete for playing time.

Oubre has spent the past two seasons in Charlotte after signing as a free agent in 2021. He averaged 17.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 124 games and was effective both as a starter and coming off the bench.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jordan Poole should be the focal point of the Wizards‘ offense next season, Josh Robbins and Anthony Slater of The Athletic state in a look at what he’ll bring to Washington. The Wizards have already traded Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma may be leaving in free agency. Without their top three scorers from last season, much of the offense will flow through Poole, who showed an ability to carry the scoring load at times with the Warriors. Robbins notes that coach Wes Unseld Jr. gave Kuzma the freedom to create his own shots, which will likely also happen with Poole.
  • In an interview with NBC Sports Washington, Wizards general manager Will Dawkins said he was happy to land Serbian center Tristan Vukcevic with the 42nd pick in last week’s draft. “Young, 20 years old. He’s played internationally, I feel like I’ve watched him for a long time now, since he was a youth as well,” Dawkins said. “With him, seven feet, skilled, can pass, can shoot.” It hasn’t been determined if the Wizards will bring Vukcevic to the NBA next season or have him spend more time in Europe, but Dawkins plans to talk to his representatives about having him play in Summer League.
  • Dylan Murphy is the new head coach for the Magic‘s G League affiliate in Osceola, the team announced (via Twitter). Murphy has been with Orlando for five years and was an assistant coach for the last three seasons.