57 players averaged at least 20.0 points per game during the 2022-23 NBA season. One such player was veteran wing Kelly Oubre Jr., who appeared in only 48 games for the Charlotte Hornets but produced at a high level when deployed. Oubre Jr. wrapped up a two-year deal for almost $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 break in his favor, as it took until mid-September for a deal to materialize.
On Monday evening, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Oubre will 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 deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, sources tell ESPN. Oubre — who averaged 20 points for Charlotte last season — could get significant opportunity on the wing with the uncertainty around James Harden.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 18, 2023
As far as the financials are concerned, Derek Bodner of PHLY reports that Oubre Jr.’s deal will be for the veteran’s minimum.
Kelly Oubre Jr.’s contract with the Sixers is a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum, sources tell @PHLY_Sixers.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) September 18, 2023
The 76ers are limited by being well over the luxury tax line, but Philadelphia could have used part (or all) of the taxpayer mid-level exception on Oubre Jr., and this is even more team-friendly. Regardless, Oubre Jr. is a talented player who comes at a bargain at this late stage, and he also provides some potential scoring punch that could be quite 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 top-level athlete who can score in bunches. Oubre Jr. also brings a relatively lengthy track record, with five consecutive seasons averaging at least 15 points per game. He averaged 16.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in that sample size, peaking with 18.7 points per game on 56.0 percent true shooting for the Phoenix Suns in 2019-20.
It isn’t as if Oubre Jr. and Harden have similar games, but with real questions about the perimeter rotation if Harden is not available, the 76ers have to be thrilled with this kind of bargain acquisition. Philadelphia is now at the roster limit with a jam-packed roster, but this was an opportunistic move for a team trying to win now 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 strongly diminished role in terms of usage and overall deployment.