Sixers to sign wing Kelly Oubre Jr. to minimum deal
The Sixers are expected to sign free-agent wing Kelly Oubre Jr. to a one-year deal, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday night.
It will be for the veteran minimum, according to PHLY Sports' Derek Bodner.
The addition puts the Sixers at 21 players - the league maximum - heading into training camp.
The 27-year-old wing averaged a career-high 20.3 points and 5.2 rebounds with the Charlotte Hornets last season.
The knock on Oubre is that his style of play isn't necessarily conducive to winning basketball. If you look up "jacker" in your basketball dictionary, his picture will be under the definition. While he's certainly a versatile scorer, his offensive game, in totality, is pretty straight forward. Oubre has ranked in the bottom 15th percentile or worse in assist-to-usage ratio in every season of his career, according to Cleaning The Glass. If the ball is in his hands, it's almost certainly headed towards the basket.
For his career, Oubre has been a low-efficiency scorer on bad shot selection licensed to put up big numbers on bad teams. The one time he played on a team that had any degree of real playoff hopes - the 2020-21 Golden State Warriors - he struggled mightily to find his footing and actually saw a substantial regression in his scoring output from the previous season.
But, he's 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. He's long been one of the better vertical athletes in the league, capable of elevating with immense power when given a runway. His three-point attempt rate across two seasons with Charlotte was roughly 50 percent.
Oubre will shoot it off the catch. He will shoot it off the dribble, for better or for worse. But, most importantly, he will play with the memory of a goldfish. Long have the Sixers been plagued by wings - both starters and reserves - who were timid shooters. Oubre isn't afraid of missing. He's not afraid of bad shot selection. He's just going to try to score, whether he's starting or coming off the bench. He also has the intangible tools to be a prime Nick Nurse type of player, long with excellent positional size and great athleticism.
The deal follows the exact philosophy the Sixers have practiced all offseason: no long-term salary commitments to new players. That's ostensibly why Philadelphia has come down with two signings in the last three weeks while the rest of the league is mostly done with its offseason. They waited out the markets on free agents in which they were interested, whether those free agents actually had any market at all or not.
That's why they were able to pick up a player in his late-20s coming off a 20-point-per-game season for less than $3 million, a contract of which the NBA will cover nearly one third.
On the other hand, Oubre will ostensibly play a significant role for Philadelphia. He will get much more national attention than he did in Charlotte. He will have a chance to rehab his value in hopes of a more substantial payday next offseason. And who knows, he might even get an open shot or two playing next to Joel Embiid.
There's a reason a player of his age and body type is available this late in the offseason, some might remark. And for the veteran minimum, no less. But, he also has a higher upside than any of the three key free agents that left this summer.
It's an outstanding contract for the Sixers. Oubre will walk in as the most prolific reserve scorer the Sixers have had since Lou Williams, assuming he's slated to come off the bench. If James Harden decides to buy in and play out the season, the Sixers might just have made up for the players they lost this offseason.