April 25, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) dunks the basketball against Sacramento Kings forward Chimezie Metu (25) during the second quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
If thereâ€™s any guarantee, it is that head coach Tom Thibodeau will always be looking for superior defensive players. That is why the New York Knicks are connected to Golden State Warriors 3-and-D player Kelly Oubre.
Despite starting the 2020â€“21 season on a bad note from range, missing 28 of his first 30 3-PT attempts, he ended up finishing with a 31.6% completion rate. However, his poor start dragged his average down â€” which shouldnâ€™t be factored in when considering his long-term production and efficiency. While the Warriors believe that Oubre is part of their long-term solution at small forward, heâ€™s a free agent this year, and there is a mutual interest between him and the Knicks, who have plenty of money to spend in free agency.
The source says the Knicks are specifically interested in adding Oubre in the event they are successful acquiring a star guard via trade. The acquisition would create a more complete roster alongside Most Improved Player Julius Randle.
He’s not the only reporter to indicate the Knicks’ interest in Oubre, as both Woj and Marc Berman have also mentioned the idea.
This past season, Oubre averaged 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and shot .439 from the field. While he was inconsistent in some categories, heâ€™s also a stellar defensive player who can man up against bigger opponents and protect the perimeter at 6â€™7â€. Another interesting factor he brings is heâ€™s a left-handed shooter, similar to RJ Barrett and Julius Randle.
At 25 years old, Oubre has plenty of quality basketball left ahead of him, and while heâ€™s an inconsistent scorer at times, he offers the type of defense Thibodeau looks for. Considering the developmental leap several knicks took this past season, expecting Kelly to improve in the scoring category is a realistic idea.
It is also fair to mention that the Warriors finished ninth in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs after losing back-to-back play-in games. With a bit more confidence and consistency, Oubre could find himself in a much better situation in New York, and he would likely be well within the Knicksâ€™ price range. Offering him more than the $9.5 million middle-level exception, itâ€™s possible he makes the transition to the East Coast, where his defense would fit right in.
The New York Knicks must hold on tight to RJ Barrett:
There is a real possibility that an alternative team asks for RJ Barrett in a blockbuster deal if the Knicks inquire about a star guard this off-season. However, they would be foolish to send the 21-year-old shooting guard on his way, considering he took a massive step forward in his progression this past year.
Averaging 17.6 points per game and elevating his three-point percentage to .401, he has the potential to be a bonafide star in the future. Giving away a player of his potential would be malpractice, and even if the deal includes Lillard, the Knicks should stick to their guns and operate out of the salary cap.