Erudite Warrior: Overpaying Oubre would retain “optionality”

Roster maneuverability > Oubre himself

Kelly Oubre’s free agency has been discussed at length on our Discord server ever since the end of the season, but the Bob Myers live Zoom call thread seemed to yield a few new members and so we rehashed the situation for them late last night.

In the interests of efficiency, below is mostly a copy/paste of our understanding of what’s about to take place as NBA free agency comes to fruition at 3p tomorrow, Monday, August 2nd, 2021.

The salary slot of Oubre, which started out as Andre Iguodala’s — which was $16M when he re-signed with the Golden State Warriors a few years ago, before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for peanuts, which then yielded the Traded Player Exception (TPE) that was used to nab Oubre from the OKC Thunder — is what Joe Lacob and Myers should be coveting here, and perhaps not so much Oubre himself. As such, we will avoid any and all discussion about Oubre’s actual fit with the Warriors in this diatribe. 😉

Incidentally, we’ve noticed there is a mostly non-social-media-using faction of DubNation that believes Oubre does have potential to be a key cog in Steve Kerr’s system, and long-term at that, but we’ll save that for another day should Oubre return.

We also realize a lot of fans and observers point to the luxury tax as a major deterrent for Lacob and Myers re-signing Oubre, however, a league source with knowledge of the Collective Bargaining Agreement tells me that the tax is not paid until the end of the season and is based on the roster at the end of the season. That timing is an important consideration in the following discussion.

The first rumor on Oubre popped up yesterday from San Antonio Spurs beatwriter Tom Orsborn. Orsborn writes: “The source said Oubre’s camp believes the 25-year-old six-year veteran would be a good fit in San Antonio and that his game would flourish under the direction of Gregg Popovich and the team’s developmental staff.”

“Oubre's agent, Torrel Harris, represents Spurs legend George Gervin.” Orsborn added. “The Spurs would have a need for Oubre’s scoring should DeMar DeRozan leave in free agency.”

So if the Spurs come in with, idk, $17M (Oubre made $14.4M last year), then the Warriors should counter at, say, $18M or $19M. Heck, round up to $20M. Give Oubre enough of a premium to make him stay, despite all the reasons for going to the Spurs.

If the Dubs want to win a championship by May-June 2022, that roster “optionality”, as Bob would put it, is needed. To do that, you must overpay to keep the Oubre slot.

If there are no suitors for a sign-and-trade during this free agency period, whereby the team receiving Oubre would be hard-capped, you then have the trade period of December through February to decide what to do with that slot.

By the February deadline, you can trade Oubre for peanuts — or a combination of whomever with a salary that does not necessarily match — to any team that has an existing TPE to make up the difference, which would create a TPE for Golden State. This is if Myers is unhappy with the value in the player-to-be-acquired in any Oubre-for-player scenario.

It is a no-brainer: overpay what is necessary to keep Oubre. That’s why in my mock depth chart pinned in LetsGoWarriors’ Discord server’s “transaction” channel, I actually have Oubre slotted on the roster. Apologies to Dulow Twist’s most recent depth chart post, but that is why I make the assumption that Oubre stays (his assumes Oubre leaves, which results in very different paths for the eventual 17-man roster).

I do leave the possibility open that I forgot something or, for whatever reason, I’m wrong on this. I’ve been humbled by this game many times before and I would hope that everyone on our Discord, when they make their own “hot takes”, please do so with some degree of humility as well, some thirst for knowledge, let’s say. But just as with Kerr, being in nearly every Zoom call with him from Dec 2020 to May 2021, all I heard him talk about was wings which is why I sensed they would go that route in the Draft.

I get the same sense with Bob in all the Zoom calls since the beginning of last season and his mantra of “optionality”, and we’re just applying that to the Oubre equation.

Discord members Jonah and Lepidoptery also reminded us that the Warriors can give Oubre slightly larger raises each year and an extra fifth year than other teams due to the Bird rights the Warriors acquired along with his contract last off-season:

Jonah: “So we have full bird rights and are not limited to just giving KO an 8% (fixed) raise?”

Lepi: “Yes, if we actually keep him (or at least don't S&T him). A few years ago the CBA was changed so you can't give a signed-and-traded player five years with 8% raises.

I've mentioned it here before, but the actual (truncated) text of CBA from the PDF on the NBPA website (numbered p228 but p250/598 for the PFF file):

(e) (1) A Veteran Free Agent and his Prior Team may enter into a Player Contract pursuant to an agreement between the Prior Team and another Team concerning the signing and subsequent trade of such Contract, but only if (i) the Veteran Free Agent finished the prior Season on his Prior Team’s roster, (ii) the Contract is for at least three (3) Seasons (excluding any Option Year) but no more than four (4) Seasons in length”