The Warriors didn’t wait long after learning the severity of Klay Thompson’s injury to use their $17.2 million traded player exception.
Golden State agreed to acquire wing Kelly Oubre Jr. into its exception from the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole confirmed Friday. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news.
Here are the particulars of the trade, according Wojnarowski.
The Warriors’ pick, which Wojnarowski reported is Golden State’s own, will turn into two second-round picks in 2021 if the Warriors don’t finish in the top 10 of next season’s standings.
Thompson is set to miss all of next season after sustaining a torn Achilles in a pickup game Wednesday, and Oubre figures to take his spot in the Warriors’ rotation. The Thunder, meanwhile, continued executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for every available draft pick.
How did the participants fare in negotiations? Here are our grades for the agreed trade.
Bob Myers, Golden State’s general manager and president of basketball operations, said Wednesday night adding would depth would’ve been an offseason priority for the Warriors regardless of Thompson’s injury. Oubre can’t fully replace the injured Splash Brother. Nobody can. But he’s a relatively low-risk acquisition who can bolster the Warriors’ depth at a key position.
Oubre’s scoring averages have improved year-over-year in each of his five NBA seasons. The 24-year-old averaged a career-high 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season, but he didn’t play again after tearing his meniscus on Feb. 24.
The 6-foot-7 wing has been an average shooter from most spots behind the 3-point line in his career, but really struggles shooting from the right corner (20.3 percent in his career). Oubre shot a career-best 35.2 percent from beyond the arc last season, and the Warriors need that to continue in order to maintain spacing on offense.
Oubre’s not Thompson, but he’s a capable scorer who has improved each year in the league and has the size to guard multiple positions in the Warriors’ switch-heavy defense. His contract is expiring, Golden State can go over the salary cap to re-sign him if he proves to be a strong fit. Trading, at worst, a late first-round pick for a proven NBA player — even for a rental — isn’t a bad bit of business.
The Portland Trail Blazers traded two first-round picks for Robert Covington, an admittedly superior player to Oubre, and the Warriors aren’t paying that price unless it’s for a star. Yes, acquiring Oubre results in higher luxury tax payments, but a franchise writing a bigger check to the NBA doesn’t have to preclude them from building as strong of a roster as possible.
Presti is cold-blooded, flipping a player he acquired at the start of the week for more draft capital at the end of the week. His pursuit of picks above all else evokes Thanos’ of the Infinity Stones (or Gems, for the Jim Starlin fans out there).
A first-round transaction isn’t inevitable from this transaction, but the two second-rounders — originally the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets’, respectively — would give them five picks in the loaded 2021 draft. Oubre and Ricky Rubio didn’t play a minute for the Thunder, and flipped them in deals that sent up to three picks to OKC.
This trade gets even better if the Warriors flout expectations and finish with one of the 10-best records in the league next season. Knowing Presti, though, he’ll find a way to get a first with the newfound $14.4 million trade exception.