OKC Thunder: Kelly Oubre trade highlights Presti’s immediate strategy in reposition era

The quick turnaround trade of Kelly Oubre to the Warriors offers insight into how Sam Presti intends to reposition and rebuild the OKC Thunder.

So much for those visions I had of the killer defensive lineup, featuring Kelly Oubre and the three OKC Thunder youngsters.  Turns out Oubre won’t ever don the Thunder jersey. That’s because he’ll be headed to the Bay to join the Golden State Warriors.

The urgency of this trade came about with news Klay Thompson tore the Achilles tendon on his right foot (the opposite leg to the ACL injury he suffered). No matter if you are a fan of the Warriors or not this sucks for basketball. Having the best players on the court is the best for the sport and our viewing pleasure — so here’s hoping Klay Thompson has an expedient recovery and he’s back sooner than we imagine.

His absence shifts the Warriors’ plans for the 2020-21 season. Prior to the injury, there were whispers of deals that focused on Andrew Wiggins as a trade chip but without Thompson, the Canadian’s presence becomes essential for the Dubs.

OKC Thunder trade Kelly Oubre to Dubs and snag another draft pick

To bolster the roster Golden State was looking to add depth and that led to Bob Myers contacting Sam Presti to facilitate a deal.

The player in question is Kelly Oubre who’ll provide two-way effort for Golden State and is an ideal fit in their switch-heavy defense. While he’s not a pure shooter like Thompson he’ll more than hold his own (scored 18.7 points per game this season). He’s progressed yearly turning into a capable shooter that can easily fit in as the third or fourth scoring option behind Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, and possibly even behind rookie James Wiseman.

The added intangible value Oubre will offer the Dubs is someone who can work in concert with Draymond Green to motivate Wiggins and Wiseman. Both players have been questioned regarding their motor whereas Oubre is a high-energy, high motor player.

Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of the deal via social media.

What we know is the Warriors are sending back a 2021 first-round draft pick although it’s heavily top-20 protected. Normally, a pick falling in the 21 to 30 range of the first round isn’t something to get excited about — but the 2021 draft projects to be loaded with quality prospects.

So, in this instance, Thunder Nation should be cheering on the Dubs to finish in the top 10 so the pick conveys. If Golden State finishes outside the top 10 then the pick will become two second-round picks (more news on the years those picks would occur to follow) as per the Wojnarowski ESPN story. 

The precise years of those two draft picks would convey will follow once the trade details are made official. In addition, the Thunder gains a $14.4 million trade exception which is what Oubre is slated to earn this season.

It’s also another reason why Oubre was easy to trade immediately as Presti may not have felt he would be willing to re-sign or that his window fit the timing of the rebuild.

Some notes to take away from this trade and more broadly how the OKC Thunder are progressing toward the reshaping of the roster and their specific plans in doing so.

First, as Thunder fans, we’ll have to get used to this feeling for the immediate future. It might only be a season or two but it’s clear Sam Presti isn’t messing around. Every trade and draft pick will be about creating an eventual powerhouse.

That means any player who doesn’t fit into that picture will be assessed to determine their short term value. If a trade of said player can bolster the draft closet or add a youthful asset who can be developed then that’s the route Presti will take.