27-year-old wing deemed ‘top free-agent target’ for Grizzlies

Taylor Jenkins, Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Taylor Jenkins, Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

For the most part, this summer the Memphis Grizzlies have done a fine job of adding pieces to their roster that they seemingly lacked throughout the 2022-23 campaign.

From their trade that saw them acquire a stout defender and a trusty playmaker in Marcus Smart to the signing of veteran leader Derrick Rose, it appears that GM Zach Kleiman has addressed many needs within Taylor Jenkins’ rotation.

However, with the offseason departure of Dillon Brooks, the Grizzlies find themselves with a hole at their wing position that’s still in need of filling. Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes Kelly Oubre Jr. should be viewed as the club’s “top free-agent target” to help mend the gap at the position.

“Memphis could use more length on the wings. More athleticism and shot-making in those spots, too. Basically, it could use someone like Kelly Oubre Jr., who might sense a chance to improve his stock by contributing to a contending team like the Grizzlies,” Buckley wrote. “If he could just nudge his outside shooting up a few percentage points, he’d be a bouncy, three-and-D wing who can find his own shot when needed. But he has to get more efficient, and maybe that’d be easier to do playing off of scoring threats like Morant and Bane.”


A soon-to-be ninth-year veteran, Kelly Oubre Jr. surprisingly remains unsigned despite putting forth one of the best statistical campaigns of his career during his second go-around with the Charlotte Hornets.

Registering 32.3 minutes a night this past season, the 27-year-old went on to post impressive averages of 20.3 points (career-best), 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.4 steals.

Though perhaps not known as a difference-making defender (career -.6 defensive plus minus), his 6-foot-7 frame with a 7-foot-2 wingspan coupled with his natural athleticism gives him the potential to mold into a solid presence on the less glamorous side of the ball should he be willing to hone his craft.

Frankly, with the two most recent Defensive Player of the Year award winners in Marcus Smart and Jaren Jackson Jr. both residing on the roster, picking up pointers could prove to be rather easy if he were to join the Grizzlies.

Ultimately, however, the signing of Kelly Oubre would likely be more geared toward strengthening the club’s middle-of-the-pack scoring punch off the pine that finished 15 in points per game (34.8) and ranked just 14 in offensive rating (56.3).

At the right price, should the wing find a way to stave off the injury bug (played in just 58 games last season) he could prove to be a tremendous addition to this promising young Grizzlies core.