If there is one thing the Phoenix Suns should be doing at this stage of the season, it is keeping all of their options open ahead of the trade deadline next month. The rumors doing the rounds are that the Suns have made these two players available, but they would be crazy to think about moving on from Grayson Allen.
As we explained in our halfway point grades recently, he has outperformed his expected role on this roster better than pretty much any other player in the entire NBA this season. So getting any more players in the door who can actually help the Suns as the postseason approaches will be tough, but not impossible.
In fact the Suns have the necessary players and picks to go out and get Royce O'Neale from the Brooklyn Nets, and they should be doing exactly that ahead of the deadline.
The Nets look like a team that don't know whether they are buyers or sellers at this point in the season, although with former Suns Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson on the roster, they at least have a place to start. O'Neale is not even the most coveted player the Nets have that is theoretically available.
That would be Dorian Finney-Smith, who is shooting 39.1 percent from deep this season and who plenty of cotending organizations would love to have. The Los Angeles Lakers being one such example, with the ability of Finney-Smith to stretch the floor having a high price in the eyes of the Nets and their front office.
Returning to O'Neale though, and he is a career 38.1 percent shooter from deep, who has managed 36 percent so far this season. For context, that career number O'Neale has managed was close to Allen's heading into this season, before his 3-point scoring explosion that has seen his own career average go north of 40 percent for the first time in his career.
With O'Neale not as good a shooter as Finney-Smith, while also being in the final year of his current contract, less is being made about his availability right now. But ESPN's Bobby Marks has outlined a trade that would appear to work well for both the Suns and the Nets, that would see O'Neale head to The Valley.
Before pointing out that the Nets may have less incentive to do this, O'Neale is in the final year of his current four-year, $36 million deal. Do the Nets feel like paying him again? If the answer is no, why not add to their draft picks with no less than three second rounders, while adding a player in Keita Bates-Diop who could learn a lot about the two-way nature of his position from Bridges.
Bates-Diop is not on a long-term deal either, but this is where Nassir Little comes in. He has three years remaining on his current, team friendly deal, after this one, and it would give the Nets a 23-year-old who they can put some time and effort into nurturing. If that doesn't work out, Little is easily tradeable down the road too.
For the Suns, this might seem like a lot to give up for what could basically be a rental, but there's more to it than that. Allen is also an unrestricted free agent this summer - and although the Suns have his Bird Rights - even that is not enough to guarantee they'll be able to pay the kind of money he may get on the open market.
So the Suns need to have a backup plan, and O'Neale would be exactly that. Any new deal for him would cost less than Allen, while the front office would be ensuring they keep a high level 3-point shooter around their three superstars. That alone should be reason to do this, but even if O'Neale walked, this would still be worth the risk.
The Suns have just won their fourth straight game, and have found themselves rounding into form at a good point in the season. Right now it is all or nothing for them - and if we look at this from the most optimistic place possible - this group has three seasons together to win a championship. So you don't wait to see what happens, you get aggressive and go out and get O'Neale.
By the time the playoffs roll around, head coach Frank Vogel will have shortened his rotation anyway. As things stand Little and Bates-Diop don't have a consistent role with this group, and that won't change as the games begin to mean more. O'Neale could though, which is why the Suns have to see if they can make this trade happen. They'll be a better team for it.