The Toronto Raptors are finally ready to start making some big-name additions to the roster, as the annual free agent feeding frenzy will kick off properly over the next few days. Names like Royce O’Neale are expected to be thrown into trade rumors around any number of worthy contenders.
With the Utah Jazz potentially going in a new direction after years in the postseason under Quin Snyder’s leadership, O’Neale could be one of many casualties who end up bolting as a result. If he leaves Utah, Toronto may end up with a very impressive Sixth Man target.
Toronto needs shooters in the worst way possible, and O’Neale needs to go somewhere where he can continue to compete for a championship at this stage of his career. Those two mutual desires could lead to an agreement between the two sides coming to fruition soon.
On Marc Stein’s Spotify Live chat, Jake Fischer claimed that Toronto is competing with the Nets and Hawks for O’Neale’s services. While he isn’t a flashy name, O’Neale has quietly been a significant piece on one of the league’s most consistent winners over the last few seasons.
Will the Toronto Raptors add Royce O’Neale?
Even though O’Neale has one of the lowest usage rates in the league, he can be an effective scorer. O’Neale has averaged 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game in the last three years while making 45% of his shots and 38% of his 3-point attempts. 3-and-D wins don’t come much more robust than this.
O’Neale is a tremendous defender. Moving everywhere from shooting guard to power forward, O’Neale has helped the Jazz be at least 5.0 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the floor in four of the last five seasons. In three of the previous five seasons, O’Neale has been a 90th percentile defender on the floor.
O’Neale would be one of the first men off the bench for Nick Nurse, as he should be able to backup Scottie Barnes and help space the floor without being a liability on the defensive end. At just 29 years old, O’Neale still has plenty of good basketball in the windshield and a style that will age gracefully.
The Raptors should be able to dig through the couch cushions and get enough pocket change needed to pay him. He won’t change the scope of Toronto’s attack on either end, but he’s a quality veteran chesspiece at a not-so-premium price.