Kelly Oubre Jr. played well for the Suns after being traded there mid-season from Washington, averaging 16.9 points per game and giving the Suns needed help on the wing next to Devin Booker. The Suns wanted to keep him, which dampened the free agent market for Oubre, teams were not coming in with offers.
The Suns and Oubre discussed a longer deal but could not find a number that worked for both sides, so they figured out what worked on a shorter, two-year contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Oubre was the last restricted free agent on the market. He had hoped that a team such as the Mavericks or Clippers would come in with a larger and longer contract offer to pressure the Suns, but as that cap space dried up it became about finding a contract that worked with Phoenix. The sides talked about longer contracts at first but came around to two years eventually.
For the Suns, they get an incredibly athletic wing, but one who shot just 32.5 percent from three for them last season. With Ricky Rubio at the point, Oubre could fit well at the three in Phoenix, it was the Suns’ best option for now, but having drafted Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson the past couple of years the two-year deal allows the Suns to revisit that idea in 2021. Oubre is essentially betting on himself that in two years his value will go up.
For now, Oubre and the Suns are locked together on a young team with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton that is expecting their young stars to take significant steps forward next season.
After spending 11 seasons in the NBA, the last four years in Sacramento, Kosta Koufos has found a new home for next season.
In Moscow. With EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow.
Koufos struggled to fit in his big-man game with the new up-tempo Kings last season. Add to that the NBA moving toward “small ball” — which is more about skill and mobility than size — Koufos has decided to head overseason. He’s making more than the NBA veteran minimum, which is likely what he would have gotten from an NBA squad.
All but the elite big men in the NBA are finding reduced demand and with that reduced pay scale, so good on Koufos for doing what is best for himself.
The Drew League in Los Angeles is one of the premiere — for my money the best — summer pro-am basketball league in America. There is some serious talent getting run on that court.
But drop in NBA talent and it’s another level.
That’s what happened Saturday in Los Angeles. Atlanta’s Trae Young showed up, went head-to-head with the reigning Drew League MVP Frank “Nitty” Session (who has embarrassed guys like Denzel Valentine in Drew games), and dropped 31.
But Young’s team lost because Clippers’ stud Montrezl Harrell dropped 46.
You can see the highlights above thanks to BallisLife.
At age 40, Manny Pacquiao is not retiring. Even if you and some boxing pundits think he should. Tonight (Saturday) he fights Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and is expected to pull down about a cool $26 million for his trouble. If you’re getting paid like that, why retire exactly? He has said he wants to fight another five years or so.
After that, he’d like to buy part of an NBA team.
That’s what he told TMZ in a pre-fight interview.
He said he has thought about buying a piece of an NBA team after he retires. Pacquiao, a basketball nut who uses the sport as part of his training, owns an entire semi-pro league — the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League — in the Philippines (one of the most basketball-crazy nations on earth). Pacquiao said he thinks his experience with that league would help him as an NBA owner, that some of the skills will translate, which is likely true. Pacquiao said it’s about finding the right opportunity.
Forbes estimates that Pacquiao will have earned, after Saturday’s fight, more than $500 million in his career. Various websites estimate his net worth in the $200 million range. He’s got the money to jump in as a part owner.
In an NBA that loves personalities and characters — and one always trying to gain more traction in Asian markets — don’t be shocked if this happens someday.
Once Pacquiao retires.
First Anthony Davis. Then James Harden.
Now add C.J. McCollum and Eric Gordon to the list, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Don’t be surprised if a couple of new players are added to the USA roster for training camp.
The loss of those four stars strips the Team USA of some international experience. As pointed out by John Schuhmann of NBA.com, now only four members invited to USA camp have played in the World Cup or Olympics: Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, and Kyle Lowry — and Lowry just had thumb surgery and is questionable for the playing in China.
USA Basketball can still roll out this starting five:
Then off the bench have Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez.
That’s still enough talent, coached by Gregg Popovich, to win the World Cup. The USA remains the heavy favorites for a reason.
USA Basketball is scheduled to begin its pre-World Cup camp in Las Vegas Aug. 5, with an intrasquad exhibition game at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 9. Then the team heads to Southern California for more training followed by an exhibition against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Then the team heads overseas for the World Cup, which begins in China on Aug. 31.