The Royce O'Neale to Cleveland saga ends
While the Cavaliers were linked to other wings, no name popped up more than Donovan Mitchell's former Utah Jazz teammate Royce O'Neale. Undoubtedly, the past connection to Mitchell piqued Cleveland's interest, but O'Neale's reputation as a high-end two-way wing would have been enough to draw attention anyway. At last year's deadline, the Cavs were on the brink of a deal to bring O'Neale to the Wine and Gold, but it fell through just as the buzzer struck.
This season, O'Neale was traded - but not to the Cavs. In a three-team deal, O'Neale joined the Phoenix Suns and waved goodbye to the Brooklyn Nets. The Suns gave up three future second-round picks and a long list of players on minimum contracts to match salaries. The Cavaliers could have matched this offer for O'Neale, but ultimately it never came to fruition. While the Cavs could have technically offered a similar return, trade negotiations are never so simple in hindsight.
While the Cavaliers have a better record than Phoenix right now, the Suns' star power may lift them to a deep playoff run. If O'Neale shines in the postseason alongside Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, then Cleveland may regret not biting the bullet to bring in the sharpshooter. O'Neale has shot 38.1 percent from three in his seven-year career and 37.2 percent from deep in 44 playoff games. Realistically, he fits the mold that Cleveland wanted, but they likely view Sam Merrill as a similar type of contributor on a much cheaper contract.