June 21, 2024

The Phoenix Suns face a challenging situation as they approach the offseason, with key decisions looming regarding their coaching staff, the 22nd pick in the upcoming NBA draft, and the free-agency status of forward Royce O’Neale.

O’Neale joined the Suns in a notable trade deal at the February trade deadline, exchanged for a combination of minimum contracts and second-round picks.

Acquiring O’Neale also granted Phoenix his Bird rights, enabling the team to re-sign him at market value, even if the contract exceeds the salary cap.

Despite O’Neale’s struggles on both ends during the playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Suns are compelled to retain him.

Why Suns Must Retain Royce O'Neale

Allowing O’Neale to depart would jeopardize Phoenix’s ability to retain its “core six” players, including Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, and O’Neale, resulting in reduced team continuity for the upcoming season.

Moreover, the Suns would only be able to replace O’Neale with minimum contracts, typically reserved for players lower on the depth chart. Therefore, the team is effectively compelled to retain such a versatile player.

Despite his postseason difficulties, O’Neale’s ability to defend multiple positions, shoot from beyond the arc, and facilitate ball movement with minimal turnovers make him a valuable asset.

It is anticipated that the Suns will re-sign O’Neale, possibly to a three-year, $39 million deal, but speculation will continue until the legal tampering period begins in late June.

In conclusion, O’Neale is expected to remain a part of the Suns roster moving forward.

 

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