Suns Expected To Retain Royce O’Neale

Suns forward Royce O’Neale is expected to remain with Phoenix this offseason, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his Hoop Collective podcast.

They’re going to re-sign Royce O’Neale,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “That’s going to get done.”

O’Neale, who turns 31 years old on Wednesday, was acquired from Brooklyn in a three-team trade ahead of the February deadline. He appeared in 79 regular season games with the Nets and Suns, averaging 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 37.0% from three-point range in 24.7 minutes per contest.

A former Baylor Bear who started his professional career in Europe, O’Neale has been a solid 3-and-D player for several seasons now. He spent his first five NBA seasons with Utah before being traded to Brooklyn a couple years ago.

Most impending free agents technically can’t negotiate with their current teams until the NBA Finals end later this month. That doesn’t apply to O’Neale, however, because he’s also eligible for a veteran extension.

O’Neale earned $9.5MM in 2023/24 and will likely be in line for a raise. The Suns project to be well over the highly restrictive second tax apron next season and have limited flexibility in how they can build out their team, but they have O’Neale’s Bird rights, meaning they can go over the cap to re-sign him up to his maximum salary.

As long as ownership is willing to foot the bill, Phoenix is actually incentivized to increase O’Neale’s salary in order to have a larger contract for matching purposes — the Suns won’t be able to aggregate salaries in trades due to being over the second tax apron.

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