Suns Expected to Re-Sign Mid-Season Acquisition: Report

Royce O'Neale

Getty Royce O'Neale

Many players on the Phoenix Suns will enter free agency in 2024. Royce O’Neale, whom the Suns acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at the trade deadline, is among the most notable.

Getting a player like him for only half a season is risky because of the possibility of him departing. However, it appears O’Neale isn’t going anywhere. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto revealed the likely outcome with O’Neale’s free agency.

“Free agent Royce O’Neale is expected to re-sign with Phoenix and is projected to earn roughly $10 million annually. The Suns have O’Neale’s Bird Rights heading into free agency, allowing them to go over the cap to retain him,” Scotto wrote.

In 30 regular season games, O’Neale averaged 8.1 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 37.6% from three. O’Neal was not able to keep up that level of production during the Suns’ first-round matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In four games, O’Neale averaged five points a game while shooting 31.8% from the field and 33.3% from three. Part of his struggles can be attributed to having to learn on the fly for the Suns. Perhaps with an offseason and training camp under his belt, O’Neale would see a better performance in his first full year with the team.

Mat Ishbia Publicly Voiced Desire to Keep Royce O’Neale

Suns owner Mat Ishbia said months prior that he would like for the Suns to keep O’Neale and Grayson Allen.

“Royce and Grayson are two great guys,” Ishbia said on March 7, per Duane Rankin. “Royce is new to the organization, has done an amazing job, everything you can think of, and Grayson has been here all year. He’s been a phenomenal part of the team and the organization. We hope and expect to have both of those guys back along with keeping this core team together because we love our team and we’re going to compete at the highest level and hopefully in the playoffs very soon and see them all play together.”

Since Ishbia made this statement, the Suns have extended Allen. Since Ishbia has put his money where his mouth is from a literal standpoint, there’s no reason to think O’Neale won’t stay for that same reason.

Suns Have Other Offseason Needs Besides Royce O’Neale

Keeping O’Neale and Allen is better than letting them walk. The Suns acquired them hoping they would help However, the Suns’ sweep at the hands of the Timberwolves indicates that they have other needs besides wing depth.

Jusuf Nurkic and Drew Eubanks proved to not be enough in their frontcourt. The Suns can try rolling with Kevin Durant at center, but that’s not a position he is used to playing. If they want more frontcourt depth, PHNX Sports’ Gerald Bourguet explained why they should go after Kevon Looney.

“This season, the 28-year-old only held opponents to 3.0 percent worse shooting at the rim, but he remained one of the NBA’s most switchable big men. It was just two seasons ago he was doing the dirty work to help the Warriors win yet another title, holding his own on an island against everyone from Jalen Brunson to James Harden during his peak.”

Bourguet also explained how he could help offensively.

“Looney shot 67.4 percent at the rim this season, and although he only ranked in the 56th percentile in points per possession as a roll man, he was 12th in the league in screen assists per 36 minutes.”

Looney is not a free agent, but he could be if the Golden State Warriors waive him.

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