SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers is hoping Kelly Oubre Jr. chooses to re-sign with the organization this summer after deciding not to complete a trade before Thursday’s trade deadline, despite the high level of interest in the 25-year-old Swan.
Kelly did a great job, Myers said Friday in a video conference with reporters, praising Oubre for the way he handled speculation about his future. Myers then asked a question that had been on the organization’s mind since Oubre’s arrival: Do we keep him or not?
Myers went on to say that Oubre did a good job of just playing basketball. And we’re going to have these conversations… I can’t promise anything, but we love Kelly and we would love to see him in our future plans, but that’s still four, five, six months away and we’ll see what happens to us, and obviously it takes two. This is a decision that will have to be made in the future.
There is speculation that the Warriors could decide to move Oubre on Thursday because he is in the final year of his contract, and it would be so punishing if they left that carrot out because it would go so deep into the luxury tax. But Myers remains optimistic that a deal can be reached, noting that Oubre had never been sold in the first place.
I think a lot of people thought he would be available, Myers said. But we also value it, as evidenced by the fact that we don’t trade it. … He handled the situation very well. I think our actions spoke volumes about how we felt about him.
Oubre, who hasn’t talked to the media as much as some of his teammates after a slow start to the season, made headlines after Thursday’s loss against the Sacramento Kings when he said the Warriors hadn’t talked to him about his future until the deadline and that he was excited to come off the bench. Former All-Star Klay Thompson is expected to return to the base next season as he continues to rehab from an Achilles injury.
I can’t speak for the future, brother, Aubre said after the game. You keep asking me questions like I’m psychic. But at the end of the day, I’m growing, improving my skills in this league, and I have much more to offer than just a place on the bench, so at the end of the day, this is my life. I can’t predict the future. Only God can do that.
Echoing what Warriors coach Steve Kerr said earlier this week, Myers said Oubre has been made aware of the potential role the Warriors see in him and noted that he liked what Oubre said in his statement to reporters about his desire to move on.
I talked to his agent personally last night, his dad comes to a lot of games, Myers said. I’m not going to bother Kelly to start in the middle of our season next year. He knows. This is the best call for his representation if they want it. So we talked in private, so he’d know. He needs to focus on basketball and winning. I like what he said last night; he must want to start. That’s what you should want. Every player has to want to start.
I have represented many people. I don’t know if anybody, even [Andre] Iguodala when he was here, I think he probably liked it when he said: Hey, I’m starting the final. I’m sure he didn’t say that: Well, I want to stay on the bench. But everyone understands that when they move. Each team has a different composition, each team has a different staff.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN recently noted, the Warriors are already above the luxury tax threshold and their tax penalties will double next year due to their relator status. This follows the tens of millions the Warriors are already paying in taxes this year to keep Oubre.
Thursday night, Oubre refused to answer a question about whether he would be willing to accept less money to stay with the Warriors. When asked if Oubre’s desire to start would hurt the Warriors’ chances of re-contracting the one-eyed man, Myers left all options open.
Who knows? Myers said. I don’t know. I don’t know who’s going to start. I don’t know who’s going to be on the team. Good call in four to five months, depending on how we close. But the good news is that no one has to answer anymore. That question should not be answered now. We have to get through the draft. We don’t know what our options are, we don’t know what’s going on out there – things are happening so fast now, with your own team, with other teams, there are no more big moves, small moves, rumors, player moves… Looking to the future is what we do, but we also need to be agile enough to make changes….. But we like him, he’s done well, and we’ll have those conversations when free agency comes.
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