UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Trade O’Neale To Nets For First Round Pick

Jun 30, 2022, 1:09 PM | Updated: 4:35 pm

Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale defending Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (Photo by Al Bello/Get...

Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale defending Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz sent Royce O’Neale to the Brooklyn Nets for a 2023 first-round pick short before free agency opened Thursday.

Both ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charnia reported the trade shortly before the beginning of the 2022-23 NBA calendar.

“The Nets are acquiring the Jazz’s Royce O’Neal in a trade for a 2023 first-round pick, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted.

O’Neale has been a key starter for the Jazz over the last three seasons averaging 6.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from the three-point line.

The forward was also routinely tasked with defending the opposing team’s best perimeter player.

O’Neale signed with the Jazz in 2017 after spending two seasons overseas after going undrafted out of Baylor in 2015.

The scrappy forward quickly worked his way into former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder’s rotation as a rookie before taking over starting duties in 2019.

O’Neale, 29, has a team-friendly two years and nearly $20 million left on his current contract, though the second year of his deal is mostly non-guaranteed.

“All love Utah and special place in my heart,” O’Neale tweeted after the trade became official.

The news of the O’Neale trade came moments before it was announced by Charania that superstar Kevin Durant had requested to be traded away from the Nets.

Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics and nearly saw Kyrie Irving opt out of the final year of his contract with the club.

Now, the Nets are likely to enter a major rebuilding project as teams will line up to land Durant’s talents.

According to Wojnarowski the Jazz will receive one of three first round draft picks next season in the deal.

“Brooklyn is sending the lesser of their own, Houston or Philadelphia’s 2023 first-round pick, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski reported.

By trading O’Neale for a draft pick and no returning salary, the Jazz will fall below the NBA’s luxury tax apron which is projected to hover around $156 million.

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