Brace yourselves. The trustworthy Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that the Suns are at the very least open to trading Kelly Oubre Jr. before the trade deadline comes on Thursday at 1 p.m. MST.
The Suns are fielding trade calls on Kelly Oubre with 22 hours and change to go before the NBA trade deadline, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 5, 2020
As with much under general manager James Jones, there was no discussion of Oubre’s availability prior to Stein’s report. However, Oubre’s salary is the only one on the Suns’ balance sheet besides that of Tyler Johnson that is not tied up in a star. If they see a deal out there that would allow them to upgrade the power forward position, using Oubre’s salary (and trade value) is one of the best ways to get it done.
The Suns’ trade dreams died a bit with how poorly Johnson has played this season, so it’s likely that no one is biting on any offer with him as a central figure. That means if there is a big fish on the trade market whom the Suns have eyes for, trading Oubre might be their only option.
Oubre also holds much more value than just his $15.6 million salary. At age 24 amid the best season of his career, Oubre has proven himself as a capable scorer, a versatile defender, and a legitimate starter. Many teams would likely be interested.
Still, the situation is fluid, and the wording of Stein’s report is specific. They are not shopping Oubre or pinging half the league to get rid of him. “Fielding calls” means to me that they are gauging interest in Oubre in the hope that maybe he can be used to lure in that big fish, or potentially (but less likely), used to replenish assets.
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