3. Royce O'Neale, Brooklyn Nets
Finney-Smith isn't the only player on the Nets who's caught the Cavaliers' eye. In addition to Hunter-based trade rumors, Stein also reported that Royce O'Neale is also on Cleveland's radar.
O'Neale — an eight-year veteran — has been his usual self for the Nets this season, averaging 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds with .412/.383/.700 shooting splits. He's shown more confidence when it comes to his perimeter play, too, proven by his career-high 5.5 three-point attempts per game.
Not only is O'Neale the type of 3-and-D player that the Cavaliers want, but acquiring him could be key to keeping Mitchell in town. After all, O'Neale and Mitchell both made their NBA debuts with the Utah Jazz in 2017 and remained teammates for five seasons before both departing in 2022. With rumors of the superstar sharpshooter's future in Cleveland being up in the air, surrounding him with another familiar face could go a long way.
O'Neale is on an expiring $9.5 million contract, meaning the Cavaliers likely wouldn't have to package too much to land him. Isaac Okoro ($8.9 million) is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason and if Cleveland is worried about his potentially commanding too much money, moving him to Brooklyn — where he'd have a bigger role — is a realistic option. Perhaps even with a second-rounder or two to sweeten the deal.
If the Cavaliers prefer a rental player over a long-term commitment, targeting O'Neale is the way to go.
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