Rumor: Warriors, Pelicans discussed a "potential deal" involving Kelly Oubre

It's just a rumor... but an interesting window into Golden State's front office

Ok, so first of all, this entire premise is based off of a short blurb buried in a larger article on The Athletic regarding the New Orleans Pelicans potentially being active in the trade market. It’s hardly a rumor… more like, a rumor of a phone call or two.

But anyways, let’s take a look at the pertinent snippet.

The Warriors and Pelicans discussed a potential deal involving Kelly Oubre Jr., sources said. There isn’t traction as of yet. Like many conversations around this time, it is a scenario.

A couple of initial thoughts.

First of all, there’s no indication of the timing here. As anyone who has been following the Warriors could tell you, Oubre’s contributions on the court have been steadily improving.

After starting off with literally the worst shooting stats in NBA history, Oubre’s recent uptick may change the Warriors’ priorities here. Prior to the game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Oubre was just 6-for-42 (14.3%) from three-point range. Having the worst three-point percentage on such a volume for a player through eight games in NBA history was bad enough, but even more troubling was the fact that most of his shots were what the NBA terms “wide open,” meaning no defenders within four feet.

Oubre has been markedly better since then, and seems to be steadily climbing back towards his career averages. So depending on when this call(s) took place, it could mean a lot of different things in regards to the front office’s willingness to stick with Oubre. My guess is that this is an older phone call (but it’s just a guess based on nothing).

Secondly, this is a weird trade. Lonzo Ball would be a good fit, filling a sort of Shaun Livingston role as a steadying presence that doesn’t necessarily need to score in order to hold value. But that’s where it gets weird. Golden State is already contending with a couple of non-scorers in Draymond Green and Kevon Looney. It’s not hard to imagine a poor fit alongside Ball.

But Ball is a very Kerrsian type of player. Heady, long-limbed, and with a good handle and court vision, the move isn’t totally crazy. Ball, like Oubre, wouldn’t appear to be a long term commitment. The Pelicans are apparently moving on to younger players, so the team opted to not re-sign Ball to the rookie extension, which makes Ball a Restricted Free Agent in the upcoming offseason.

Also, the vagueness of the rumor is confusing. Perhaps this was a discussion around JJ Reddick? It makes as much sense as a trade for Ball, but I’m not seeing much reason to trade for a half season of the twilight of Reddick’s career.

For now, it sounds like there’s no imminent move here, which sounds good to me. Without knowing if Ball or Oubre fits into the long term picture for a Warriors team that expects to compete for a championship next season once Klay Thompson returns, I’d side with just keeping Oubre. He’s been showing lots of improvement, and I’m comfortable waving away that horrid shooting slump to start the season - remember, Oubre shot nearly 36% from deep last season.

Post-publish edit:

Looks like it wasn’t the Warriors shopping, apparently it was the Pelicans that put in a call to Golden State.