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Report: Suns extend qualifying offer to restricted free agent Kelly Oubre Jr.

Phoenix Suns' Kelly Oubre Jr. (3) drives toward the basket as Houston Rockets' Iman Shumpert (1) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 15, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Phoenix Suns have extended a qualifying offer to forward Kelly Oubre Jr., making him a restricted free agent when the new league year begins on the evening of June 30, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The move allows the Suns to match any offer sheet Oubre signs with another team, but it does restrict their cap situation.

Oubre is a “target for significant offer sheets,” Wojnarowski adds, especially from teams that miss on top-tier free agent additions.

Oubre carries a $9.6 million cap hold so long as Phoenix does not renounce its rights on the forward. That would make him an unrestricted free agent and take away the Suns’ Bird Rights, which allows them to re-sign Oubre at a price that can push them over the salary cap.

Phoenix acquired Oubre in December of 2018 from the Washington Wizards in a swap of veteran Trevor Ariza and guard Austin Rivers, the latter of whom they immediately waived. In 40 games with the Suns, Oubre averaged 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, shooting 45% from the field. He started in 12 games after the All-Star break and averaged 20.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game shooting during that span.

After a thumb injury ended his season prematurely, Oubre told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that he wanted to remain a Sun.

“Why would I go anywhere else?” he said. “I’m here, I’m getting established and I’m not a guy that really wants to be on a million teams in my tenure in the league and I just want to create a dynasty and a legacy here in Phoenix with [Deandre Ayton], [Devin Booker], [Mikal Bridges], all the guys in the locker room. It’s beautiful.”

If the Suns renounce their rights and thus the cap holds from the rest of their free agents, as expected, they will have upward of $13 million to spend to remain under the salary cap. They could then go over the cap by signing Oubre.

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