57 players averaged at least 20.0 points per game during the 2022-23 NBA season. One of those players was veteran wing Kelly Oubre Jr., who only played 48 games with the Charlotte Hornets but produced at a high level during his deployment. Oubre Jr. signed a two-year deal for nearly $25 million in Charlotte, and he averaged 20.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Hornets. However, the free agent market didn’t necessarily turn in his favor, as it took until mid-September for a deal to materialize.
On Monday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Oubre would sign a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, adding intriguing depth to a team with quite a bit of uncertainty.
Free agent G/F Kelly Oubre Jr. is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, sources tell ESPN. Oubre – who averaged 20 points for Charlotte last season – could get some significant opportunities on the wing with the uncertainty around James Harden.
–Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 18, 2023
As for finances, Derek Bodner of PHLY reports that Oubre Jr.’s deal will be for the veteran’s minimum.
Kelly Oubre Jr.’s contract with Sixers is one year minimum for veteran, sources say @PHLY_Sixers.
– Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) September 18, 2023
The 76ers are limited by being well over the luxury tax limit, but Philadelphia could have used some (or all) of the mid-level taxpayer exception on Oubre Jr., and that’s even more team-friendly. Either way, Oubre Jr. is a talented player who makes for a bargain at this late stage, and he also provides hitting potential that could be very useful given the mystery of James Harden’s future in Philadelphia .
Oubre Jr. reached unrestricted free agency at the age of 27, and the former first-round pick remains a high-level athlete capable of scoring in batches. Oubre Jr. also brings a relatively long track record, with five straight seasons averaging at least 15 points per game. He averaged 16.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in this sample, peaking at 18.7 points per game on 56.0% true shooting for the Phoenix Suns in 2019-20.
It’s not like Oubre Jr. and Harden have similar games, but with real questions about perimeter rotation if Harden isn’t available, the 76ers have to be excited about this kind of bargain acquisition. Philadelphia is now at its strength limit with a full squad, but it was an opportunistic decision for a team now trying to win at the highest level.
For Oubre Jr., it will also be interesting to see if he can replicate his statistical success from Charlotte in what will almost certainly be a greatly diminished role in terms of usage and overall deployment.