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Report: Royce O'Neale Traded to Nets from Jazz amid Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Rumors

Doric SamJune 30, 2022

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are facing turmoil amid reports that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving's days with the team could be numbered, but the team agreed to an ancillary trade Thursday ahead of the start of the free-agent negotiating period.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Brooklyn agreed to acquire veteran forward Royce O'Neale from the Utah Jazz in exchange for a 2023 first-round draft pick.

The Nets own three draft picks next year after trades with the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. The lesser of those three picks will be the one that is sent to the Jazz, per Wojnarowski.

O'Neale has been a solid rotation player for Utah for the last five seasons. The 29-year-old swingman is known for his energy and versatility. Last season, he recorded career highs of 7.4 points per game and 38.9 percent shooting from three-point range while adding 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

While Brooklyn acquired a reliable player who can also be used as a future trade piece, the move was not well-received online.

Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News questioned why the Nets would deal an unprotected first-round pick when the team reportedly knew Durant would eventually request a trade, which he did Thursday, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium:

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed

top-8* protected. the other philly first-rounder is unprotected. still not a good business decision.

B/R's Andy Bailey also questioned the timing of the deal from the Nets' standpoint:

Andy Bailey @AndrewDBailey

I cannot wrap my head around Brooklyn surrendering a first-round pick for 29-year-old Royce O'Neale at around the same time Kevin Durant requests a trade.

For the Jazz, the deal was another important step for a team in transition. Tony Jones of The Athletic reported that Utah "needed future trade capital," and it also opened another roster spot in the transaction.

The Jazz hired Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy as their next head coach following the resignation of Quin Snyder. Utah also looks to be committed to building around Donovan Mitchell, so this gives the franchise another asset that could help improve the roster around its star.

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