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Report: Suns are ‘fielding trade calls’ on Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre Jr. #3 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after a three point shot against the Orlando Magic during the first half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 10, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Magic 98-94. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns are “fielding trade calls” on wing Kelly Oubre Jr., according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

The language of Stein’s report is important, as Stein does not indicate that the Suns are shopping Oubre or even interested in trading him. Regardless, the report coming out is something, and it’s something surprising at that.

Oubre, 24, has been the Suns’ second-best player this season. He’s averaging career-highs in points (18.5) and rebounds (6.7) per game.

Seen as a long-term piece of the Suns’ core alongside Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, Oubre is in the first year of a two-year contract he agreed to with the Suns this past offseason after becoming a restricted free agent. His energy has been a clear plus both in the locker room and on the court since he was acquired from the Washington Wizards in December of 2018.

There isn’t much logic behind dealing Oubre unless Phoenix believes they won’t be able to agree to a contract extension and/or be able to retain him in 2021 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Oubre’s position, though, is one that’s the most crowded on the depth chart.

Mikal Bridges was drafted No. 10 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft and rookie Cam Johnson came one year later at 11th overall.

Beyond that, Stein’s report could indicate that there are other bigger deals at hand for Phoenix, who has been largely under the radar when it comes to anything getting out on their plans. The NBA’s trade deadline is at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Oubre makes a little over $15 million this season and a shade under $14 million next season. He is currently the fourth-highest paid player on the roster and is set to be the third-most for the 2020-21 season, behind recent signing at point guard Ricky Rubio and shooting guard Devin Booker.

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