ESPN’s Bobby Marks sees Royce O’Neale a fit for Phoenix Suns

Jan 19, 2024, 4:08 PM | Updated: Jan 20, 2024, 8:33 am

Royce O'Neale...

Royce O'Neale #00 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball against Jordan Goodwin #0 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 13, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Patience is the best trade deadline asset for the Phoenix Suns, ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Thursday.

But he believes Brooklyn Nets wing Royce O’Neale could help quite a bit, too.

The deadline is quickly approaching, and while the Suns’ season has been uneven, they have won eight of 11 games with the Big 3 getting more reps with one another.

A lineup of Kevin Durant at the 5 and four shooters around him finished off a 22-point comeback win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, perhaps a sign of what is to come down the stretch of games if the matchup is right.

“Let this evolve and see where it goes because there’s no turning back,” Marks said.

“It’s not like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna trade Bradley (Beal) at the deadline and KD and we’re gonna redo everything.’ No, you’ve got to see this through here … when you win eight of 11, what you want to do now is get some separation, get out of the from the group of play-in teams and get into that top six, which I think you definitely can do. … I am expecting things to get better, I would be shocked if we’re taking like three steps back now.”

When looking at improving the roster around the edges, Marks pointed to a big wing.

He said he’d love to see Washington Wizards point guard Tyus Jones on Phoenix’s roster, but acquiring him and his $14 million deal is tricky given Phoenix’s lack of picks and trade-friendly contracts.

Marks singled out O’Neale from the Brooklyn Nets, who is a 6-foot-6 wing with a defensive pedigree. O’Neale is a career 38.2% shooter from 3 who could benefit from the looks created by playing with three stars.

“It would probably cost you (Nassir Little) and you’d have to add a little bit of salary there and you’ve got some second-round picks,” Marks said. “That’d be a priority for me. They’ve got a couple of trade exceptions. The interesting thing with trade exceptions and then also they’ve got cash is that once we get past the deadline, those go away, those no longer exist because of these new stricter rules that are going to come into play.”

The Suns are a second-apron team and have $1.3 million in cash to trade that will no longer be there after this deadline, Marks said.

He also highlighted an O’Neale to Phoenix trade in his trade guide series, saying he would not worry about point guard with Devin Booker and Beal on the roster.

O’Neale is on an expiring deal for a Nets team on the outside of the play-in tournament as it stands.

Phoenix will get more assets to trade over the offseason with a 2024 first-rounder via pick swaps and a 2031 first-rounder.

Would the Suns trade Grayson Allen?

A move Marks does not see happening is a Grayson Allen trade.

Allen is on an $8.9 million deal in the final year of his contract. The Suns have his Bird rights if they want to re-sign him, as he has been a consistent contributor and the league’s top 3-point shooter (48%).

The Suns added Allen in the offseason Damian Lillard blockbuster that sent Deandre Ayton to Portland and Jusuf Nurkic, Allen and Little to Phoenix.

“He’s been one of your best players, most consistent players and you have the ability to re-sign him as a free agent,” Marks said.

“I know it’s going to be costly. Ownership has certainly made a commitment to spend. They’re not trading Grayson Allen. That is not happening. … The goal is to re-sign Grayson Allen in the offseason because then you can maybe use him as a trade chip down the road or you can keep him and and go from there. Never say never in this league, but I would pretty much dismiss the Grayson Allen trade chatter.”

Allen, who has been traded three times in his career, has started 35 of Phoenix’s 40 games this year.

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ESPN’s Bobby Marks sees Royce O’Neale a fit for Phoenix Suns