ESPN’s Pelton: Suns get an A- grade in trade for Royce O’Neale, David Roddy

Feb 9, 2024, 9:17 AM | Updated: 9:26 am

The Phoenix Suns managed to acquire a wing for their playoff rotation in Royce O’Neale and a piece for the future in David Roddy on trade deadline day, and ESPN’s Kevin Pelton is impressed.

The Suns were known to be seeking out 3-and-D wings at the deadline, and they came through with addressing the need just hours before it was too late. Pelton agreed with the team that this need was more pressing than point guard, though many watchers around the country have called for a more traditional floor general.

Pelton gave the Suns an A- grade for the deal, saying O’Neale “might be the strongest role player on the roster with balanced contributions at both ends.”

Limited because of his 6-4 stature and lack of athleticism, O’Neale is certainly a better defender than the Suns’ best shooters (Grayson Allen and Eric Gordon) and with his career 38% from 3 he is more of a perimeter threat than Phoenix stoppers Josh Okogie (27% this year) and Bates-Diop (31%).

Although Pelton didn’t think Phoenix needed the extra playmaker, he still sees the value that O’Neale can offer in that sense.

As a bonus, O’Neale is an underrated passer who’s averaged better than four assists per 36 minutes each of the last two seasons. He might not have as many assisting opportunities but with Goodwin’s departure, no Suns reserve has averaged more than Gordon’s 2.7 assists per 36 minutes.

Pelton also thought it was smart by Phoenix to add a player who it can re-sign given Bird rights while acknowledging that the trade puts Phoenix’s luxury tax bill at third in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.

The ESPN analyst added that the Nets get a B+ for recuperating draft capital for O’Neale since they’re even further out of contention now. The Grizzlies fell behind with a C+ grade for giving up on Roddy, a player they selected at No. 23 just two drafts ago.

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ESPN’s Pelton: Suns get an A- grade in trade for Royce O’Neale, David Roddy