After 43 games into the season, the Phoenix Suns are fifth in the Western Conference standings. Due to injuries that have caused them to struggle, the Suns can finally play their brand of basketball. Interestingly, the Phoenix team can improve on what they already have this season and potentially add another wing to the mix.
ESPN's Bobby Marks has intrigued fans with his recent take on who the Suns should pursue on the deadline. A name that has linked to the team is Royce O'Neale. The Brooklyn Nets forward is on an expiring deal.
O'Neale's current team is looking for something in return for him instead of letting him walk away this summer.
"“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. 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.”"- Bobby Marks
There have been reports that the Suns want to add a versatile wing to their roster. Marks proposed a trade involving Nassir Little, a bit of money, and possibly a few picks. Rumors say that Phoenix could trade Little or Grayson Allen by the deadline. However, seeing how Allen has performed for the team, fans might not like him getting shipped traded.
Because of this, it goes back to Little being the main focus of the trade that could potentially send O'Neale to the Suns.
Trading Little for O'Neale makes sense
Looking at Little's performance this year, he hasn't been a reliable player for the Suns. His numbers are down compared to his last season with the Portland Trail Blazers. The 23-year-old forward is averaging 4.9 points and 2.4 rebounds this season. He's shooting 31.4 percent from beyond the arc and has not helped Phoenix's offense.
Defensively, however, Little has been outstanding. He's been able to keep up with his matchups whenever he's stepped foot on the court. Even with that, the Suns can improve their situation if they move him for O'Neale.
The team is looking for a forward who can be a consistent threat from the three and guard perimeter players at an elite level. O'Neale fits that profile, as he's known around the league as one of the best three-and-D wings. The 6-foot-5 forward shoots 35 percent of his shots from the three, which is far better than Little.
O'Neale also takes more attempts from the three, which benefits the Suns as they need someone who will not hesitate when given a chance. However, his $9.5 million salary this season could cause the organization to hesitate to trade for him. But given the recent pattern of the ownership that they aren't afraid to spend to assemble a winning team, it's likely that they could pursue him.
The forward has played 41 games for the Nets, averaging 7.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and three assists. O'Neale produces more than Little, although he will demand more minutes, as he's consistently played 24.8 minutes for the Nets.
If the Suns want to improve their depth, trading for O'Neale would be a no-brainer. But even if they opt not to pursue him, they still have their Big 3, who are all gradually finding their rhythm as a trio.