The Golden State Warriors are on the verge of acquiring Kelly Oubre Jr. from the Oklahoma City Thunder, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Oubre’s $14.4 million salary will be absorbed into the $17.2 million dollar trade exception created last summer after the Warriors sent veteran swingman Andre Iguodala in a separate deal to the Memphis Grizzlies. Oubre, who will turn 25 next month, fills an immediate need on the wing for a Warriors team that is reeling after an MRI on Thursday morning revealed that former All-Star Klay Thompson will miss all of the upcoming season after tearing his Achilles tendon during a pickup game with some fellow NBA players on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters prior to a formal introduction of the organization’s new draft picks, Golden State general manager Bob Myers noted that while the deal to acquire Oubre hadn’t been completed yet, the Warriors have to work quickly to attempt to fill the void on the roster that Thompson’s injury created.
“We got this news and we found ourselves with a hole at a position that we can’t find many better guys to fill than a Klay Thompson,” Myers said. “So now we write our board up and under the 2-guard position we had a blank space — after processing that, the league’s now waiting for us. We got to do what we got to do. So we’re exploring a lot of different things.”
Myers made it a point to single out Warriors owner Joe Lacob for the financial backing that Lacob and the rest of the team’s ownership group continues to provide in the wake of uncertain circumstances surrounding the Warriors’ present and future. With the addition of Oubre, Golden State’s luxury-tax bill is expected to reach well over $100 million depending on other corresponding moves.
“I’m not saying this because the guy’s 15 feet away from me, I am so lucky to have an owner [in Lacob] and an ownership group like I have,” Myers said. “And I don’t know if the fans know how lucky they are — but my boss wants to win. My boss has never said, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ And I’d like to thank him for giving myself and our front office the opportunity to be aggressive, because he wants to win. I could say he’s doing it for the fans — he does it for them, too — but he wants to win. And I want to win and our coaching staff wants to win and our players, our whole organization, but it is a business, too, and sometimes you got to look at that part. But he [Lacob] does — in all fairness I’ve been here 10 years and it’s been about winning.”
Myers knows that there are still a lot of different things the Warriors must figure out on the roster for a team that finished a league-worst 15-50 prior the NBA’s shutdown in March. The Warriors were hoping that with a healthy Stephen Curry (hand) and Thompson (torn left ACL) back after both missed almost the entirety of last season because of separate injuries, the Warriors would be back on a championship track, but Thompson’s latest setback makes Oubre’s arrival even more pressing than it might have been even a few days ago.
“We’re going to keep looking at what we can do and filling that position and try to get the best player we can,” Myers said. “Nothing’s done as far as [an Oubre agreement] or anything yet but we got to look hard and look fast. I probably shouldn’t even be up here [at this news conference]. I should not even be doing this right now, but I got some great guys I work with that are working right now on what we can do. And so we got to fill that position and give our fans and our organization and all the people that support us the best chance to win next year that we can.”
Myers also noted that the Warriors are looking into using the disabled player exception to give themselves even more roster flexibility in the wake of Thompson’s injury, but those decisions haven’t been finalized yet.
“We’ve actually had those conversations,” Myers said. “We had to await what the severity of the injury was to go down that road, but we should have that answer soon and see what optionality that provides. Nobody ever wants — a disabled player exception means roughly you lost a player for a year, you never want that for any player, you certainly don’t want that for a Klay Thompson, so potentially it’s another vehicle to look at. And we’re kind of doing this on the fly, too. But it’s a fair question and it’s something we’ve looked into.”
Oubre averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds last season for the Phoenix Suns. He was traded to the Thunder last week as part of a deal that sent veteran point guard Chris Paul to Phoenix.