2. Royce O’Neale
The Nets logjam on the wing has limited O’Neale’s playing time this season. Brooklyn gave up a first-round pick to acquire him in the 2022 offseason. They needed someone who could defend and sink open shots next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Nets did not expect both stars to be traded with the primary return being wing talent.
O’Neale is averaging 7.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 25.8 minutes per game this season. He has started just six games but is shooting 37.2 percent from 3-point range. Every team wants 3-and-D wings, and O’Neale figures to be available before the deadline. The Nets shopped him in the offseason and will be motivated to move his expiring contract.
The 6’4 wing is making $9.5 million and remains extension eligible. The Celtics will be over the second tax apron next season, so now is the time to improve their roster before the restrictions kick in during the offseason. Getting another 3-and-D wing who can make shots and play significant postseason minutes would be massive for the franchise’s depth.
Working out a deal for Royce O’Neale would mean losing Payton Pritchard. Boston could try to get Dennis Smith Jr. back in the deal to give them some point guard and ball-handling depth. Brooklyn could be the perfect trade partner, but working out a deal won’t be easy given the Celtics' financial restrictions.