ENTERING his ninth NBA season, a former first-round pick has adopted a new mindset after joining the Philadelphia 76ers.
Kelly Oubre Jr., 27, landed with the 76ers in September on a one-year deal worth just under $2.9 million.
Kelly Oubre Jr. (pictured) signed for the Philadelphia 76ers in SeptemberCredit: Getty
Oubre Jr. spent the last two seasons with the Charlotte HornetsCredit: Getty
This move came after a certain amount of soul-searching this offseason, looking to avoid the “anxiety” he suffered during past experiences with free agency.
Eventually signed by the 76ers, he recently told The Philadelphia Inquirer that this opportunity is “something that I think is bigger than me.
“I’ve had to kill my ego over these past couple years and really just find who I am deep down inside. This is what God brought me here to do, and I’m happy to be here.”
An offseason spent away from social media may not have been conducive to completing a deal sooner, but it was something Oubre Jr. needed.
“I needed to figure myself out. I needed to be whole so that I could bring my all,” he explained.
Now a member of the 76ers on a veterans minimum deal, Oubre Jr. is seemingly unconcerned about the finer details of his contract.
He admitted that he “didn’t care about the money,” adding: “I know what I’m worth and I know what I deserve.
“But if I have to protect my peace and my soul over the money, I’m going to do that any day of the week.”
This move should give Oubre Jr. a chance to challenge for a playoff run.
And surely this will come as a welcome change of pace after spending last season with the 27-55 Charlotte Hornets.
“I’ve come from teams where they have no hope,” Oubre Jr. reportedly said at the team’s media day.
“Like zero hope within the whole city. This [in Philly] is not that at all.
“So I appreciate this fan base for being so hard on the team and wanting to see greatness, because they deserve it and this organization gives the players the platform to do so with everything around us.”
And it seems safe to say Oubre Jr. isn’t lacking in confidence or swagger since arriving in Philly.
Speaking to Keith Pompey of The Inquirer on October 6, when asked how he feels he has fit in with his new team so far, Oubre Jr. responded: “I don’t see myself fitting in I see myself standing out.”
Drafted fifteenth overall out of Kansas by the Atlanta Hawks in 2015, the Washington Wizards swiftly traded for the former Jayhawk, ultimately keeping him on their books for over three seasons.
He wound up being dealt to the Phoenix Suns in December 2018.
Two years later, Oubre Jr. was traded again, this time to the Golden State Warriors where he’d remain just one year before hitting free agency.
The Hornets subsequently signed him on a two-year deal worth $25 million.
In 2022 he started 40 of his 48 appearances, averaging 32.3 minutes per game, 20.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.
To date, Oubre Jr. has earned over $65.7 million and made 527 career appearances.
Oubre Jr. made his 76ers debut during their 114-106 preseason loss to the Boston CelticsCredit: Getty