It’s no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking for help on the wing, and according to a new report, the team had been eyeing Charlotte Hornets small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. before his recent hand surgery.
Oubre is expected to be on the shelf for several weeks following the procedure.
“Cleveland, Phoenix and Toronto had been circulating as teams that had trade interest in the Hornets’ Kelly Oubre Jr. until Oubre was forced to undergo left hand surgery this week expected to sideline him for four-to-six weeks,” wrote NBA insider Marc Stein.
It’s unclear if the Cavs are still eyeing Oubre. There’s a pretty good chance he won’t play again until after the Feb. 9 trade deadline passes.
The 27-year-old has taken on a pretty big role this season for the Hornets, as his usage percentage (26.5) is the highest of his career. As a result of Oubre’s usage spike, his efficiency has taken a small hit, but his per-game averages are pretty impressive.
The former first-round pick is averaging 20.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game this season while shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from beyond the arc.
The Cavs are believed to be looking for short-term help on the wing, and Oubre would definitely check that box. He’s a free agent at the end of the season, so if he were to be dealt before this year’s deadline, he’d likely be a rental.
Trading Oubre might be a smart move for the Hornets, who have one of the worst records in the Eastern Conference at 11-29. Since the team seemingly isn’t going anywhere this season, it might as well trade Oubre’s expiring contract and hope for a solid return.
The small forward’s surgery does complicate things a bit. It would be understandable if teams were hesitant to acquire a player that is currently injured.
Regardless, Oubre’s name will be one to watch in the coming weeks. Cavs fans are surely hoping for a small splash or two before the deadline.
Cleveland is 25-15 on the season, good for fourth in the East. The team is 2.5 games back of the top spot and would certainly love to earn a high seed going into the playoffs.