In what should come as no surprise, the Phoenix Suns still have Kelly Oubre Jr. in their plans for a little while longer. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Phoenix wants to emerge out of restricted free agency with a new long-term contract with their newest wing acquisition.
“Expect restricted free agent Kelly Oubre Jr. to emerge as a priority for the Suns. If Oubre enters the market, he’s a prime option for teams with cap space that strike out on their first-tier targets.”
Following his arrival from Washington in a straight one-for-one swap with Trevor Ariza, Oubre Jr. posted career-highs across the board averaging 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1 block in 40 games. Once the 23-year-old forward was moved from his sixth man role into the starting lineup, those numbers ballooned up to 20.2 points and 2.1 steals on a 56.3 true shooting percentage.
Oubre Jr. also proved to be the smoothest fit alongside the Suns’ foundational franchise pillars in Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. The 3-man lineup of Booker, Ayton and Oubre was plus-2.3 over 436 minutes — and no other consistent rotation player had a positive net rating.
The question now is what will the price end up being for someone of Oubre’s caliber? Anywhere within the range of $12-14 million makes total sense for both parties, and don’t be surprised if this is agreed upon once free agency officially kicks off.
Bill Duffy, who represents Ayton and Oubre as their agent, went through this experience last summer with Aaron Gordon. Orlando agreed to a 4-year, $84 million extension on July 1 that de-escalated over each season. Somewhere along the lines of 4-years, $56 million for Oubre with similar parameters wouldn’t be shocking to see.
Remember, Oubre trademarked the #ValleyBoyz phrase he came up with during the season as he unveiled at the end of season media availability. Would have to imagine you don’t do that if leaving is in the plans soon, and the feeling from both sides all along has been a long-term relationship in Phoenix.
Looking back on it, Phoenix trading Ariza for Oubre is looking more and more like a steal. The blunder of signing Ariza led to the Suns finding their possible long-term answer on the wing alongside Booker and Ayton.