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Suns Swing For Title After Trading For Two-Way Wing Royce O'Neale

The Phoenix Suns made it clear they are all in on an NBA championship this season, trading for defensive stopper and three-point marksman Royce O'Neale from the Brooklyn Nets. The move bolsters their wing rotation as they gear up for a deep playoff run.

phoenix suns
O'Neale brings precisely what Phoenix needs - a high IQ connector who plays both ends at a high level. The 29-year-old wing is switchable on defense, able to guard positions 1 through 4. He also shoots 37.2% from downtown for his career, spacing the floor for Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul to operate.

Perhaps most underrated is O'Neale's playmaking. He nearly averages 3 assists per turnover this season, fitting the mold of players like Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon, and Jusuf Nurkic as ideal ball movers in the Suns' offensive system.

Suns players and executives are ecstatic about the move. Durant raved about O'Neale's versatility, calling him "a basketball player" that brings "IQ, shooting, (and) underrated passing." Grayson Allen echoed KD's thoughts, citing O'Neale as a "great shooter" and versatile, switchable defender.

Phoenix did relinquish bench pieces like Dario Saric and draft capital in the deal. Still, none of the departed players were expected to see serious playoff minutes. The Suns received universal praise from pundits for essentially trading away bench depth for a potential starter.

Bleacher Report awarded the Suns an A+ for the "heist of a trade," applauding them for not hesitating to go all in. Magic Johnson also approved the win-now deal for a "tough playoff-tested player."

O'Neale brings 137 games of playoff experience to aid the Suns' title push. His defensive versatility and shooting are precisely what Phoenix needed to match up with the league's elite.

The starting lineup of Paul-Booker-Durant-O'Neale-Ayton stacks up nicely with just about any in the NBA. O'Neale slots in perfectly at the 3 or 4, depending on matchups. His arrival also bolsters an already staunch Suns defense.

Phoenix entered deadline day with a .700 winning percentage - second-best in the NBA. Still, the front office showed no hesitation in swinging yet another deal to maximize the 2023 championship window.

Suns GM James Jones continues to be aggressive in building the roster after the surprise Durant trade earlier this month. The O'Neale move is another exciting win-now transaction for a franchise that came painfully close in 2021.

The message is unambiguous - Phoenix wants to hang the franchise's first-ever championship banner in 2023. The Royce O'Neale trade signals the Suns will be unrelenting in this pursuit.

Via SI


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