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Suns rumored to be interested in Nets’ forward

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With the NBA trade deadline approaching on Feb. 8, more reports have come out on who the Phoenix Suns have their eyes on.

One name in particular is Brooklyn Nets forward Royce O’Neale, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer. The Suns have a lot of recent history trading with the Nets, highlighted by the Kevin Durant trade, but also the trade that sent Landry Shamet to the Suns and Jevon Carter and a first-round pick to Brooklyn on July 30, 2021.

The 6-foot-6 O’Neale is averaging seven points on 37.6% shooting, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 43 games for the 17-27 Nets, who are currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The 30-year-old is on the last season of a four-year deal. He has a cap hit of $9.5 million this season.

O’Neale would be a perfect fit in Phoenix given his 3-and-D upside, but he is shooting career lows in field-goal percentage (37.6%) and 3-point percentage (35.4%). O’Neale could turn into another defense-only player off the bench if his shooting doesn’t improve, as we have seen with several Suns’ reserves.

Other notes on the Suns

According to Fischer, the Suns (26-18) are shopping Nassir Little and the five second-round picks they have at their disposal. Little is one of six players on the Suns (Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen) who is not on a veteran minimum contract. Fischer added in his article that the Suns appear “content” with keeping Allen. Allen is in the midst of a career year, but was thought to be another asset they could trade.

Little signed a four-year, $28 million contract extension with the Blazers in October of 2022, which kicked in this season. He is making $6.25 million in the 2023-24 season with the figure increasing by $500,000 every year. It makes sense why the Suns would be shopping him given he hasn’t been in the rotation since Dec. 27.

Some other players that Fischer says the Suns are interested in include Delon Wright, Monte Morris, Jae’Sean Tate, Miles Bridges and Nick Richards.

The Suns are $22 million over the luxury tax, so Phoenix is operating in the second luxury tax apron. Among a lot of other restrictions, the Suns can only take in 110% of salary they are sending out at this trade deadline.

This means Little would make the most sense to be traded, given his contract. The Suns could also package him with some of their veteran minimum players to make up for salary.

Additionally, Phoenix has four trade exceptions to use that expire at the deadline: a $6.5 million trade exception (from the Cam Payne trade), a $5 million trade exception (Dario Saric trade), a $1.8 million trade exception (Isaiah Todd trade) and a $1.1 million trade exception (Toumani Camara trade). These trade exceptions can be used to match a salary of an incoming player, but cannot be packaged together. They can be attached to a trade including a player or draft capital.

So what would some hypothetical trades look like for the Suns? See the article below:

Hypothetical trades the Phoenix Suns could make

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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