The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to sign free-agent guard/forward Kelly Oubre Jr. to a one-year deal, a league source confirmed Monday. ESPN first reported the news. Here’s what you need to know:
- Oubre spent the past two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets and averaged 20.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 48 games in 2022-23.
- The 27-year-old missed nearly two months last season after undergoing surgery in January on a torn ligament in his left hand.
- 76ers star guard James Harden requested a trade out of Philadelphia earlier this summer.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
How did Philadelphia get Oubre?
Oubre had been hoping to cash in after averaging over 20 points a game in Charlotte last season, but with the Hornets uninterested in re-signing him after drafting Brandon Miller with the second pick, he had trouble finding suitors at a higher price point. With camps opening in two weeks, he decided to take the bird in the hand of a minimum deal from a contender — along with likely lots of minutes in a thin wing rotation — and try to build his market for next summer. — Hollinger
What this means for Sixers
While Oubre plays more as a scorer and has been an inconsistent shooter throughout his career (33.0 percent from 3 for his career, 31.4 percent last season), he’s a dynamite transition player and gives the Sixers the option to play more offensively potent lineups, especially at the end of games. Moving Tobias Harris to the 4 and playing Oubre at the 3 is more plausible against bigger teams than doing the same with D’Anthony Melton, especially since Oubre is a credible on-ball defender. After seeing Boston largely ignore P.J. Tucker in last season’s playoffs, this could be a go-to antidote for new Sixers coach Nick Nurse.
Needless to say, Oubre’s ability to score and soak up minutes at the two wing spots also potentially softens the blow from any Harden holdout and/or eventual trade. Wing depth has been a sore spot for this team for years, but Oubre could be a Sixth Man Award candidate if everything clicks in Philly.
Philadelphia will also need to clear a roster spot for Oubre before opening day, as it now has 16 players under contract. Danny Green and Filip Petrusev have partially guaranteed deals, while Montrezl Harrell is likely out of the season after tearing his ACL in August. Barring a trade, one of those three would seemingly be the odd man out. — Hollinger
Oubre, the No. 15 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, owns career averages of 12.8 points and 4.4 rebounds.
(Photo: Nell Redmond / USA Today)