Best free agent left: Kelly Oubre Jr. is still available

Kelly Oubre
Kelly Oubre

After Christian Wood reached a deal with the Lakers (where he will come off the bench most of the time, it's a defensive mess to do otherwise), and with P.J. Washington re-upping in Charlotte, it leaves one clear name as the best unsigned free agent on the board:

Kelly Oubre Jr.

The veteran plays a position of need around the league as a 6'7" wing and the man can go get a bucket — he averaged a career-high 20.3 points and 5.2 rebounds a game last season in Charlotte (he played in just 48 games, missing the start of the season due to a knee injury). For his career he's averaged 12.2 points a night.

There are holes in his game. Oubre is not an efficient scorer — below average 53.4 career true shooting percentage, a career 33% from 3 is part of that — he's not a playmaker for others, nor is he a plus defender. Still, there is undoubtedly a role for him in the league, particularly as a bench scorer. He could fit in a lot of places. Off the court, he's a well-liked teammate and one of the players open about modern NBA players’ mental health challenges.

Oubre and his agent could be waiting to see how things shake out in Miami or Philadelphia with the Damian Lillard and James Harden situations — there have been rumblings of Oubre linked to the Heat — but there is no movement on either trade front right now, less than a month before the start of training camp. Dallas and Cleveland were mentioned as possible destinations at points, but nothing materialized.

Of course, it all comes down to the money.

Oubre is coming off a couple of two-year contracts (one signed with the Suns, one with the Hornets) that paid him at least $12 million a year (he made $12.6 million last season). He sought another deal at the mid-level exception or above, but nothing materialized. He waited out the market, but everything dried up and what is now left is basically veteran minimum deals. There are teams with a little more than that to offer, but not much.

Some team is going to land Oubre on a steal of a contract. He needs to land with a team that can give him minutes and touches to help build his value back in the eyes of team decision makers.

He's too good a player to still be available on Sept. 7. He's the best free agent on the board and can help more than a few teams.