Phoenix Suns sign Royce O’Neill and David Rudy

Phoenix Suns sign Royce O’Neill and David Rudy

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to acquire Royce O’Neal from the Brooklyn Nets and David Roddy from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-way deal that includes three second-round picks and identical salaries. Athlete Shams Charania reports.

Phoenix are sending Keita Bates-Diop, Chimezi Mito, Yuta Watanabe and Jordan Goodwin in the deal. Reports Arizona Sports John Gambadoro. Watanabe is headed to Memphis.

O’Neal, 30, could bring stability to a wing rotation, with decent enough size to take on key defensive duties in place of Kevin Durant and shooting abilities that should worry opponents at least.

In Brooklyn, O’Neal averaged 7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists this year in 24.5 minutes per game. While he shoots an ugly 39% overall, he is hitting 37% from three on 5.4 attempts per game.

Before his career with the Nets, which intersected with Durant’s time there, O’Neal played from 2017-2022 with the Utah Jazz and started 289 of his 495 NBA games.

He also brings 44 games of playoff experience to the fold.

He has spent the past two years with Brooklyn and is in the final year of his contract that pays $9.5 million. His Bird rights come with him, meaning the tax-strapped Suns could keep him at any cost after this year when O’Neal enters free agency — though his rate would be subject to heavy taxes.

Rudy, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound wing, is averaging 8.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 23.2 minutes per game. He shoots just 40% overall and 30% from three.

The 22-year-old, who was the No. 23 overall pick in 2022, is under contract next season and has a team option in 2025-26 before becoming a restricted free agent.

Where do O’Neale and Roddy fit on the Suns roster after the trade from the Nets?

This season, Phoenix attacked the wing market as best they could after solidifying their core of Devin Booker, Durant, and Bradley Beal. The Suns acquired Little and Grayson Allen in the blockbuster that shipped off Deandre Ayton and also replaced him at center with Jusuf Nurkic.

In free agency with only minimal contracts offered, they signed versatile defender Keita Bates Diop, sharpshooter Yuta Watanabe and jumbo winger Shimezi Mito. Phoenix also re-signed Josh Okogie.

And while they all had opportunities to bolster roles, none of them were able to nail down the perimeter-oriented defense that would complement Durant, Booker and Beal on both ends of the court with consistency.

O’Neale slides in perfectly as a potential No. 1 winger, solidifying the rotation and leaving the rest to move down the pecking order.

It’s a role Okogie has played to some extent this year, but his erratic play especially from a shooting perspective has limited how much Phoenix can use him.

Rudy came out of Colorado State as a uniquely sized scoring winger. That hasn’t translated into the NBA, but Phoenix has control of the team for half of its rookie cap hit at just over $4.8 million, a gamble to take given the tax constraints he’ll face.

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