San Antonio Spurs: Pros and Cons of signing Kelly Oubre Jr.
Pros of the San Antonio Spurs signing Kelly Oubre Jr.
He fills a void at the small forward position
Something the Spurs have severely lacked the past couple of seasons is a wing player that can defend and shoot the three-ball. While Devin Vassell will hopefully begin to address that need soon, Oubre can come in and provide help immediately. His career numbers aren't jaw-dropping, averaging just 11 points 4 rebounds a game, but those numbers are a bit misleading.
In the past three seasons, Oubre has averaged 17, 18, and 15 points per game on about 45% shooting from the field. His three-point shooting has never been the greatest with his career-high being 35% in his 2019-'20 season with the Suns. But even so, he's a very capable defender and inside scorer that is still young enough to make improvements to his shot.
He fits the team's timeline
It's pretty obvious by now that the Spurs are steadily moving forward with the youth movement. DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay are likely leaving the team soon, and that can only mean more minutes for players like Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell, among others.
For the Spurs, it would not make much sense to use a significant part of their available cap space this offseason to center the team around an older veteran. Oubre, only being 25 years old, fits the youth movement's timeline perfectly. If the Spurs think he would play well with the current young core, they could sign him to a long-term deal, or if they prefer to wait and test the waters, they could sign him to a shorter two or three-year deal to see how he'll fare.
Either way, there isn't really a big risk associated with signing him to a long-term deal unless his asking price is too high. Even if he doesn't pan out for the team due to injuries or some other reason, if he isn't costing the Spurs too much, then the team shouldn't feel much of an impact. He will never be a centerpiece to build around, but he can certainly be a valuable complementary piece to a good team.
The Spurs have cap space this offseason, and lots of it. They will have so much, in fact, that there will be several different ways they could go about using it. For example, they can absorb a bad contract via trade and acquire draft compensation in the process. On another hand, the Spurs could offer competitive contracts to young players that their current teams would be uncomfortable with paying them, like with John Collins or Lauri Markkanen.
If those two options don't work though, they could try and aim for players that are "reclamation projects" that go for a lower price, like with Oubre. With all the cap space the Spurs will have, they could potentially even sign Oubre to a multi-year deal and have enough left over to sign a second free agent or absorb a bad contract for compensation.
He's wanted in San Antonio
Rumors began circulating recently that some of the young San Antonio Spurs players want the team to land Oubre in free agency. It is unclear which Spurs players these reports are referring to, whether or not the rumors are true in the first place, and why they specifically want Oubre on the team. If the rumors are true, assuming Oubre would be interested in joining the Spurs, this could mean good things for the team's chemistry.
It's a good feeling to be wanted whether it's a high school prospect being recruited to a top basketball program or a free agent in the NBA hearing offers from multiple teams. Being wanted by the players could perhaps help convince Oubre that joining the Spurs would be a good long-term career decision, even if it means getting through some growing pains first.