Kelly Oubre Jr. might be the most under-the-radar 20 points-per-game scorer in NBA history. Somehow, the former Wizard is still unemployed after averaging 20.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.4 steals in 32 minutes per game last season with the Charlotte Hornets. The Washington Wizards should try to take advantage of this market inefficiency and sign the underrated wing.
Oubre Jr. was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 15th-overall-pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and played 3.5 seasons with the team until he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Trevor Ariza. He was a key contributor in two playoff runs with the Wizards in 2017 and 2018.
Despite being an 8-year veteran, Oubre Jr. is still only 27 years old. Now that his contract with the Charlotte Hornets expired this summer, he remains the highest-profile unrestricted free agent on the market. The Washington Wizards, who still have their non-taxpayer mid-level exception to offer, can lure Oubre Jr. with a lucrative offer.
The key in a potential Oubre Jr. signing for Washington would be the ability to bring him on a tradeable contract that doesn’t hamstring the Wizards’ financial flexibility going forward. Oubre Jr., currently in his prime, would be an excellent trade asset on a 2-year, $20 million type of deal.
Not only would Oubre Jr. be a movable asset that could net Washington a solid return in a year or two, but he also fills a need for the Wizards. Even though he is not elite on either end, Oubre Jr. is a solid two-way player on the wing. He can guard multiple positions, makes plays as a help defender, and adds good length and athleticism on the defensive end.
Offensively, he is a volume shooter. He can get up three-pointers in an instant, and thanks to the versatility of his jump shot, he is a constant threat as an off-ball player. This could help space the floor for the young Wizards and give them another solid offensive option.
Oubre Jr. has never been the most efficient offensive player, and this could be a problem playing next to Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole. However, Oubre Jr. could come off the bench in a microwave scorer role, making his efficiency problems less of an issue.
It’s not clear whether the Wizards want to acquire any more players, but capitalizing on this opportunity to sign a good player to a bargain deal might not be a bad idea. This reunion could be a win-win for both sides.