Target No. 1 – Royce O’Neale
At 6-foot-4, Brooklyn Nets swingman Royce O’Neale isn’t really the best height for a starting small forward. But, considering his sturdy perimeter defense, he’s been able to make a nice six-year NBA career off of being a 3-and-D wing.
Last season for the Nets, he wasn’t that effective offensively. Yes, his defense was still great, which was nothing new there. However, he shot 38.6 percent from the field, which was poor. Fortunately, his 3-point percentage was at 38.9 percent, which was the key positive.
One underrated asset of his game is his playmaking. For a small forward, he’s more than capable of making the extra pass. He averaged a career-high 3.7 assists last season, which was nice to see.
It seems that O’Neale and Cleveland have been linked for months now, and there’s no reason it couldn’t happen. He’s making $9.5 million next season, and is on an expiring contract. The Cavs could trade Isaac Okoro for O’Neale and maybe a few second-rounders, considering Okoro has a lot more potential than O’Neale.
O’Neale has played with Donovan Mitchell in Utah before, and they are really good friends. Bringing O’Neale in to Cleveland could be a great idea, as he could help in making Mitchell want to stay in Cleveland long-term, as well as improve the Cavaliers’ starting lineup at the small forward spot.
The Nets already have a lot of wings, such as Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Lonnie Walker IV, Cam Thomas, and the newly-drafted Dariq Whitehead. Considering O’Neale will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, as well as the fact that he’s already 30 years old, chances are he’s going to want to go to a contender, and Brooklyn isn’t that. Getting some value for him is ideal while they still can.