Why shouldn’t the Phoenix Suns be making calls on Kelly Oubre?

Kelly Oubre Phoenix Suns (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kelly Oubre Phoenix Suns (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

While the rumor has basically been debunked that the Phoenix Suns are actively attempting to trade Kelly Oubre, the question that should be asked is, “why aren’t they?”

There is one player on the Phoenix Suns’ roster that is “untouchable:” Devin Booker.

Even he might become fair game if the franchise doesn’t right the ship quick enough that he sooner rather than later demands a trade to greener pastures elsewhere.

What that means, then, is that if there could potentially be a trade had that James Jones is able to work out, that improves  the roster yet includes Kelly Oubre, then without hesitation: he needs to make that trade.

And let us be honest with ourselves: that “improves the roster” kind of trade does not even necessarily have to be a star at this very moment.

Much like the Minnesota Timberwolves acquiring smaller parts (including a first round draft pick) that might be included in a subsequent deal – presumably for D’Angelo Russell – then that too has to be kept under consideration.

Now this of course does not mean that Kelly Oubre needs to be given away. I am certainly not saying that Jones should offer Oubre up for nothing, ala T.J. Warren.

Aside from his actual on court value based on his offensive fearlessness and defensive energy, Oubre has an intrinsic value that is important to both the fanbase and franchise as well. The “Valley Boyz,” as meaningless to the grand scheme of winning as it is, is something that fans have grown found of. They have attached themselves to that moniker, and with it, to Oubre.

Kelly Oubre is our modern Elliot Perry or Pat Burke: a player who in a very short amount of time has ingrained himself deep into the culture of the franchise becoming a cult-like fan favorite, in many ways the most visible face of the franchise.

Those players have mass market appeal. Their apparel is thrown up on store shelves all over the Valley and their faces suddenly appear in advertisements.

You do not just throw out that social glue before it has dried up.

And Oubre is certainly nowhere near drying up  and becoming a has-been player who’s trade value will never grow beyond the point that it is now.

Plus, unlike Perry and Burke, Oubre performs at a very high level – and is only getting better.

The elder two were both primarily reserve players, and while ‘Socks’ did start plenty when Kevin Johnson was out, he could never have out-played KJ to the point that a head coach might have had a tough decision at point.

One might argue that Oubre should  be coming off of the bench (ahem – I do  argue that), but that is by no real fault of his own. It is not like he is playing so poorly that starters minutes are inherently a detriment to the team.

He has earned  a starting position on the Phoenix Suns’ roster, and would likely be a starter elsewhere if moved.

But none of that means though that he, like Booker, is in anyway off limits.

Consistently below-.500 teams cannot become so in love with certain players because they are nice and fun, that they perpetuate the losing by holding onto valuable trade pieces because the player is likable. If there is an opportunity to make a deal that improves  the team from top to bottom, then any player on the roster must be considered available.

This is something that if James Jones is a truly good general manager (and I tend to air on the side that he is,  although I am admittedly cautious as I once believed that Ryan McDonough was one of the better general managers in the league as well), then he will not place Kelly Oubre on any sort of “do not touch” list if it hampers his ability to make a trade that makes the Phoenix Suns  a better team – even with the loss of one of the more likable and entertaining current players.

Does this mean that Jones should be calling every team and asking “what can I get for Kelly Oubre?”


But would there be anything wrong with he and his staff devising of trades to call other general managers and offering proposals with Kelly Oubre as one of the pieces going the other direction.

Y. E. S.

And he should do so without hesitation.

Personally, I like Kelly Oubre very much. I do not believe that I have the same visceral attachment to his as some fans do, but that is no problem to me.

However, I do think that Oubre is not the third  best player on a very good team, but that he is the fourth  for a number of reasons (primarily his below-average 3-point shooting and his inconsistent offense in general). Therefore, if James Jones can find that second star, and not at the expensive of either Deandre Ayton or Kelly Oubre, then Oubre will be in the absolute perfect position that will absolutely maximize exactly who he can be as a professional basketball player.

Next. Counterpoint: Phoenix Suns should not field calls for Kelly Oubre. dark

Until then, though, if either acquiring that second star, or if acquiring the pieces that are needed to eventually acquire that star, OR  James Jones believes that he can make a trade that improves the roster from top to bottom by trading Kelly Oubre, then he must do it.

If not; if he becomes so attached to Oubre the man that he cannot or becomes un-willing to trade Oubre the player, then this team will never improve beyond the below-average one that it is, and the next player to be moved, just might be the only one that truly should be untouchable.