“Sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs have interest in swingman Royce O’Neale as they continue to scour the trade market for a potential wing upgrade before the 3 p.m. deadline,” Fedor wrote. “Preferably one who can shoot, either to start or strengthen one of the league’s least productive benches. A few days ago, there was a growing sense that Cleveland’s decision-makers weren’t excited about the realistic trade options and would be fine standing pat — if a deal didn’t materialize.”
The Nets seem to have turned into sellers after trading away Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. The Durant deal brought the Nets several draft picks from the Suns, which should help them jump-start a rebuild.
O’Neale is a proven veteran who may not have a place on a rebuilding roster, but he could help the Cavs compete for a playoff spot in the East this season.
The veteran forward began his career with the Utah Jazz before he was traded to Brooklyn in the offseason. The Nets had looked like title contenders with O’Neale flanking Durant and Irving until Irving requested a trade from the franchise.
This season, the 29-year-old is averaging 9.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from beyond the arc.
It’s not often that a player shoots a better percentage from 3-point range than the field, but most of O’Neale’s shots this season have actually come from beyond the arc. He attempts just 8.2 field goals per game in the 2022-23 campaign, with 5.6 of those shots coming from deep.
A solid defender, O’Neale would fit in well alongside Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland in Cleveland. O’Neale was teammates with Mitchell on the Jazz for several seasons.
The league’s trade deadline is at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, so the Cavs don’t have a ton of time to work out a deal for the Baylor University product.
Cleveland has played well in the 2022-23 season, holding the No. 4 spot in the East with a 35-22 record. The Cavs have won four straight games to jump ahead of Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference standings.
Adding O’Neale would give Cleveland more depth on the wing with Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman and Caris LeVert, though Osman and LeVert have been mentioned in trade rumors.
It would also help the team’s defense in the playoffs, as O’Neale could be an option to guard the opposing team’s best wing player.