Kelly Oubre Jr. is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, but it looks like the Valley Boyz moniker he dubbed for this young Phoenix Suns team shortly upon his arrival is now secured. Oubre Jr. has teased multiple times throughout the season that merchandise was eventually coming, so this could be laying the groundwork to unveil it after officially re-siging in July.
Once I saw the Suns’ newest wing, who has quickly become a fan favorite, tweet this, I had to weigh in with my own prediction. After I mentioned on Twitter that I believe the #ValleyBoyz apparel will be released once the ink dries on his extension, Oubre Jr. immediately liked it.
Obviously, Oubre Jr. doesn’t go out of his way to legally obtain this phrase unless he’s committed to staying in Phoenix long-term. Only two weeks after he was traded, Brendon Kleen and I overheard him say to fans during pregame warmups, “Talk to James (Jones), I wanna stay.”
Since then, the 23-year-old went on to rewrite his career-high in points three times while also reaching new levels across the box score. In 40 games with the Suns this season, 12 starts, Oubre Jr. averaged 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1 block on a 55.5 true shooting percentage.
Before being shut down due to a thumb injury that eventually led to surgery last month, Oubre Jr. was establishing himself as the third most important piece of the puzzle to the 2018-19 Suns behind Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Not only did he swing the on-court style of the team, but also helped change the culture around in short order alongside Jamal Crawford and Richaun Holmes.
Now, we sit back and wait to see if my prediction ends up being right once July 1 arrives. The sole proprietor of Valley Boyz seems like he definitely isn’t going anywhere, and this trademark confirmation might have put the finishing touches on it.
The only question now seems to be how much Oubre Jr. will be making annually, plus how much this homegrown merchandise will cost this summer.
“He’s big for us, and we’re looking forward to having him with us for a long time,” co-interim GM James Jones said on 98.7 FM back in January.
And just last month, Oubre Jr. told AZCentral: “I’m here, No. 3, small forward for the Phoenix Suns. Trying to keep it that way for the rest of my career.”