Golden State Warriors swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. did not get traded prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, but his future with the organization remains cloudy at best. That has always been the case since the Warriors acquired Oubre prior to the season, but it became even more pronounced after the 25-year-old answered several questions about his future following Thursday night’s 141-119 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Oubre said he would “love” to stay with the Warriors long term, but when asked whether he would be comfortable staying with the organization if it meant coming off the bench next season when former All-Star Klay Thompson is expected to return from an Achilles injury, Oubre hinted at his intentions when he hits free agency later this summer.
“I can’t speak for the future, brother,” Oubre said. “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.”
As ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne noted following Thursday’s deadline, the Warriors had “several strong offers for Oubre” but decided not to make a deal and to wait to see what happens after the season. For his part, Oubre tried to keep the focus on the present as his future lingers.
“I would love that,” Oubre said, when asked if he’d like to stay with the Warriors for years to come. “At the end of the day this is a business. We got through one step, the next step is giving my all to this team so we can reach our goals this season. And then this summer that’s another step, so I’m just kind of in the moment right now. I’m here. I’m a Warrior.”
Prior to the deadline, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he had spoken with Oubre about his situation and praised the way the veteran swingman handled all the speculation regarding his future. But when asked whether he had spoken to the Warriors about that future, Oubre said he hadn’t and bristled at the line of questioning about some of his upcoming decisions.
“It’s great that he’s here,” Kerr said prior to the game. “He’s happy, I’m happy. We got 28 games to make a push, and that’s all there is to focus on. Not much else to say.”
What complicates matters in regard to a potential future between the Warriors and Oubre is the salary cap ramifications his contract — and a possible extension — creates. 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.
With max deals for Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Thompson — and the second year of Draymond Green‘s $100 million contract extension already on the books for next season — the Warriors must decide if they are willing to make that kind of financial investment in Oubre’s future, and Oubre must decide if he would be comfortable in a smaller role. He offered another glimpse into his mindset at the end of his media session, when asked if he would be willing to take less money this summer in order to stay with the Warriors in the long term.
“Next question,” he said.