Wizards owner, coach love Kelly Oubre Jr., but will they pay him in two years?

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The Washington Wizards are going to be a team trying to maneuver without cap space for the next few years. The Wizards locked up Bradley Beal on a max contract last summer, then this summer matched a max offer for Otto Porter and extended John Wall with a max deal that keeps him with the Wizards for six more seasons. That’s three max guys, and don’t forget that Ian Mahinmi has three years, $48 million left on his contract, while Marcin Gortat has two years and $26.3 million left. Washington is over the cap and flirting with the tax line for the foreseeable future.

Where does Kelly Oubre fit into all that?

The athletic wing who backs up Porter is entering his third NBA season and in the summer of 2019 will be a restricted free agent potentially commanding a big payday. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis talked about this, as reported by CSNMidAtlantic.com, and added that coach Scott Brooks is a big Oubre fan.

“He’s another great, high-character kid with great athletic skills. And yeah, he wants to be where these guys are. Our coach really, really likes him. He thinks he can be a difference maker. He kind of has that X-factor in his game,” Leonsis said

“So yeah, he’s going to come back and work really, really hard and challenge us to pay him a lot of money, too, which I’m glad to do. I think that that is important, that young players realize we would much rather pay them to stay with the organization than think the grass is greener and that some free agent from some other team is going to come in and make a big difference for us.”

Oubre made strides in his second season, playing 20 minutes a night and showing signs he could be a “3&D” wing that would have real value to the Wizards. However, he struggled to score (less so when paired with first unit guys, but still) and shot just 28.7 percent from three. His role shrank in the playoffs as he battled knee issues, and this off-season he had platelet-rich plasma therapy to help it recover.

Oubre didn’t put up big numbers in his second NBA season, but he is improving and the stats he did put up were similar to the ones Porter put up his second NBA season (although Porter was a much better shooter). If Oubre can continue to make strides, he’s going to leave the Wizards with a very tough decision in a couple of years.