EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns trade for Nets’ Royce O’Neale, Grizzlies’ David Roddy before deadline

Feb 8, 2024, 11:18 AM | Updated: 7:48 pm

The Phoenix Suns acquired Royce O’Neale from the Brooklyn Nets and the Memphis Grizzlies’ David Roddy in a three-way trade including three second-round picks and matching salaries, the Suns announced.

Phoenix is sending out Keita Bates-Diop, Chimezie Metu, Yuta Watanabe and Jordan Goodwin in the trade.

Bates-Diop, Goodwin and three second-round picks are going to Brooklyn while Metu, Watanabe and swap rights on a 2026 first-round pick are headed to Memphis.

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro adds the Suns held onto their 2028 second-round pick that was owned by the Boston Celtics and that Phoenix’s salary and luxury tax payment went up over $20 million with the moves. Additionally, the Suns will have to sign another player to get to the minimum requirement of 14 players on a roster.

O’Neale, 30, could bring stability to a wing rotation, with decent enough size to take on premier defensive assignments instead of Kevin Durant and the shooting capabilities to at least make opponents worry.

In Brooklyn, O’Neale averaged 7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists this year in 24.5 minutes per game. While he’s shooting an unsightly 39% overall, he is hitting 37% from three on 5.4 attempts per game.

Prior to his run with the Nets, which crossed over with Durant’s time there, O’Neale played from 2017-22 with the Utah Jazz and has started 289 of 495 career NBA games.

He also brings 44 games of playoff experience to the fold.

He’s spent the past two years with Brooklyn and is in the final year of his contract that pays out $9.5 million. His Bird rights come with him, meaning the tax-strapped Suns can retain him at any cost beyond this year as O’Neale enters free agency — though his rate will be heavily taxed.

Roddy, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound wing, is averaging 8.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists over 23.2 minutes per game. He’s shooting just 40% overall and 30% from three.

The 22-year-old, who was the 23rd overall draft pick in 2022, is under contract next season and has a team option in 2025-26 before he’ll be a restricted free agent.

Where does O’Neale, Roddy fit on Suns roster after trade from Nets?

Phoenix this offseason attacked the wing market to the best of their ability after solidifying their core of Devin Booker, Durant and Bradley Beal. The Suns acquired Little and Grayson Allen in the blockbuster that shipped off Deandre Ayton and also replaced him at center with Jusuf Nurkic.

In free agency with only minimum contracts to offer, they signed versatile defender Keita Bates-Diop, shooter Yuta Watanabe and jumbo wing Chimezie Metu. Phoenix also re-signed Josh Okogie.

While they have all been given opportunities to solidify roles, none grabbed hold of being that perimeter-oriented defensive who would complement Durant, Booker and Beal on both ends of the court with consistency.

O’Neale ideally slides in as the likely No. 1 wing, solidifying the rotation and leaving the rest to shift down in the pecking order.

It’s a role Okogie has held to some degree this year, but his up-and-down play especially from a shooting perspective has limited how much Phoenix has used him.

Roddy came out of Colorado State as a uniquely sized scoring wing. That has not translated in the NBA, but Phoenix has team control for half of his rookie that maxes out at just above $4.8 million, a gamble to take under the tax constraints that it will face.

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