SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers is hopeful Kelly Oubre Jr. will decide to re-sign with the organization this summer after deciding against dealing the 25-year-old swingman prior to Thursday’s trade deadline despite “high-level” interest.
“Kelly’s done a great job,” Myers said during a video conference call with reporters Friday, praising Oubre for the way he’s handled the speculation surrounding his future. Myers then posed the question that has hovered over the organization since Oubre’s arrival: “Are we going to keep him or are we not going to keep him?”
Myers continued by saying that Oubre has “done a good job of just playing basketball. And those are conversations we’ll have — I can’t, per the rules, promise anything, but we like Kelly and we’d love to be able to see him in our future plans, but that’s four or five, six months away, and we’ll see what happens with us and obviously it takes two. So that decision will be made down the line.”
There was speculation around the league that the Warriors might decide to move Oubre on Thursday given that he is in the final year of his contract and it would be so punitive for them to keep the swingman because of how deep that would have to go into the luxury tax. But Myers remained optimistic about coming to an agreement, pointing to the fact that Oubre wasn’t dealt in the first place.
“I think a lot of people thought he might be available,” Myers said. “But we value him too, as evidenced by not trading him. … He handled it very well. I think our actions spoke to how we view him.”
Oubre, who has not spoken to the media as often as some of his teammates this season after getting off to a slow start, made headlines after Thursday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings when he said the Warriors hadn’t spoken to him about his future before prior to the deadline and bristled at the notion of potentially coming off the bench. Former All-Star Klay Thompson is expected to go back into the starting lineup at some point next season as he continues rehabbing from an Achilles injury.
“I can’t speak for the future, brother,” Oubre said after the game. “You keep asking me questions like I’m a psychic. But at the end of the day, I’m growing, I’m honing in on my skills in this league and I can offer a lot more than coming off the bench, so at the end of the day, this is my life. I can’t tell the future. Only God can.”
Echoing what Warriors coach Steve Kerr said earlier in the week, Myers said that Oubre had been “informed” of the potential role the Warriors see him in for the future, noting that he liked what Oubre said in his remarks to reporters about his desire to start moving forward.
“I talked to his agent the other night in person, his dad comes to a lot of games,” Myers said. “I’m not going to bother Kelly about whether you’re going to start next year in the middle of our season. He knows. That’s a better conversation for his representation to have when they want to have it. So we had that conversation privately, so he’s informed. His focus should be on playing basketball and winning games. I like what he said last night; he should want to start. That’s what you should want. Every player should want to start.
“I represented a lot of guys. I don’t know that anybody, even [Andre] Iguodala when he was here, I think he probably liked it when he said, ‘Hey, I’m going to start you in the Finals.’ I’m sure he probably didn’t say, ‘Well, I want to stay on the bench.’ But everybody figures it out as they move. Every team has a different roster; every team has different personnel.”
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted recently, the Warriors are already way over the luxury tax line and will see their tax penalties double next year because of the repeater status. That would come on the heels of the tens of millions the Warriors are already paying in tax payments to keep Oubre this year.
Oubre declined to answer a question on Thursday night about whether or not he would be willing to take less money to stay with the Warriors. When asked if Oubre’s desire to start would hurt the Warriors’ chances of re-signing the swingman, Myers left all possibilities 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. That’s a good conversation to have in four or five months based on how we finish. But the good news is nobody has to answer that now. It shouldn’t be answered now. We got a draft to go through. We don’t know what pick we have; we don’t know what happens there — things happen so fast now, with your own team, with other teams, there’s never been more big moves, small moves, rumors, player movement … Looking ahead is something we do do, but you also have to be nimble enough to make changes … but we like him, he’s done a great job, and we’ll have those conversations when free agency gets here.”