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Report: Wolves Interested in Nets Forward Royce O’Neale

O’Neale is a career 38% 3-point shooter and has experience with current Timberwolves players Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert from their time playing for the Utah Jazz together.

Brooklyn Nets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves have expressed interest in reuniting Brooklyn Nets forward Royce O’Neale with his former Utah Jazz teammates Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley in Minnesota, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

The NBA Trade Deadline — Thursday, February 9 at 2 PM CT — is approaching quickly, so talks are heating up between teams across the NBA. Even though the Wolves are tied atop the Western Conference standings, they still have clear needs to address and improve upon in between now and then.

To put it plainly, the Timberwolves’ offense has disappointed at the halfway point of the NBA’s 2023-24 season. Situated as the 19th-ranked offense in the NBA, the Wolves have too much talent on their roster to find themselves at the league's bottom half in offensive rating. While turnovers and a lack of fluidity hamper the team’s ability to keep pace with the league's premier offenses, the lack of spacing has been detrimental.

O’Neale brings a versatile skillset who can guard multiple positions and command respect from opposing defenses out to the three-point line. As a career 38% shooter from deep, the Brooklyn wing is experiencing a down year from beyond the arc at 35.4% on 5.3 attempts a game. Injecting a capable shooter in the rotation is a logical step towards remedying some of the team’s spacing issues offensively.

The former Baylor standout is a willing and physical rebounder who will frequently crash the boards, coming away with second-chance opportunities or timely rebounds. His effort and willingness to do the little things drive winning impact and these exact margin actions are what drive winning in tight games.

The fit doesn’t end there, as the Timberwolves have struggled to contain strong and physical power forwards such as Zion Williamson or Julius Randle. Standing at 6-foot-6, and a sturdy 226 pounds, O’Neale offers up a strong body capable of sustaining battles against the league's physical wings. His quick hands compliment his sturdy frame, causing disruptions to opposing drives.

O’Neale is currently in the last year of his deal, which will count towards $9.5 million against the salary cap. The Timberwolves currently have $2.362 million in space under the luxury tax threshold and have several options to match O’Neale’s incoming salary. Kyle Anderson currently makes $9.2 million, or you can aggregate Shake Milton and Troy Brown Jr.’s contracts together for $9 million.

Minnesota also will have the less favorable of the Washington Wizards and Memphis’ Grizzlies second-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, among their five tradable second-round selections. Due to both teams finding themselves near the bottom of their respective conference, that pick will carry significant value as it will be near the top of the second round.

Stay tuned to our Canis Hoopus Trade Deadline Tracker for more updates on Timberwolves trade chatter heading into the February 8th trade deadline.