Hot from an impressive season with the struggling Charlotte Hornets, seasoned combo forward Kelly Oubre Jr. appears to be an odd fit for the team’s payroll. This situation arises after another Hornets forward, P.J. Washington, secured a fresh three-year contract, estimated to be valued at $48 million or even higher.
Turning the spotlight to the Los Angeles Lakers, they currently have a pair of vacancies within their standard 15-man roster. Speculation abounds that the Lakers are keen on acquiring a skilled big man for one of these slots, while deliberately leaving the other open for the upcoming 2023-24 season. However, is it conceivable that the Lakers could deviate from their reported strategy and bring in a 27-year-old wing, currently at the peak of his abilities? This individual, though not an exceptional long-range shooter, presents a solid two-way threat, excelling in midrange shots and paint dominance.
In the previous year, Kelly Oubre Jr. participated in 48 games (interrupted by a season-ending hand injury requiring surgery in January), managing to achieve an average of 20.3 points. His shooting statistics stood at .431/.319/.760, and he contributed with 5.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 assists. It’s worth noting that Charlotte occupied the 14th seed in the East with a record of 27-55. Given the circumstances, somebody had to shoulder the scoring responsibility, and Oubre’s contribution was substantial. However, if he were to join the Lakers, his role might undergo a significant transformation.
The intriguing aspect is Oubre’s exceptional performance despite playing on a struggling team. His remarkable athleticism and stature further enhance his appeal. With the potential to provide relief for LA All-Star LeBron James in the small forward position and likely starter Rui Hachimura in the power forward role, Oubre compensates for his occasional lack of three-point consistency with his scoring finesse and defensive prowess. Given these attributes, exploring Oubre’s potential addition to the roster is certainly warranted, particularly if his market value has declined to the extent where he might be considered for a veteran’s minimum contract.