With Kevin Durant's future with the franchise now in question, the Brooklyn Nets have been busy with other moves with NBA free agency about to commence.
According to multiple reports, the Nets and Utah Jazz have agreed to a trade that will send wing Royce O'Neale to Brooklyn in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick.
The Jazz will receive the lesser of either the Nets' own 2023 first-rounder or the one Brooklyn acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in February’s blockbuster James Harden/Ben Simmons trade, according to ESPN.
The Houston Rockets also have an option to swap its 2023 first-round pick with the Nets as part of the trade that sent Harden to Brooklyn in January 2021.
O'Neale started at least 62 games for Utah in each of the previous three seasons and is in the third season of a four-year, $36 million contract, though his 2023-24 salary is only partially guaranteed.
Primarily known for his defense, the 29-year-old averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 77 games last season but has been a solid shooter throughout his five-year career.
O'Neal owns a 38.1 per cent career success rate from 3-point range and is a nearly 80 per cent shooter from the foul line. The Jazz are in the midst of somewhat of a transitional period just two years after having the best record in the Western Conference at 52-20 in 2020-21.
Summer hoops coming pic.twitter.com/PAVQ72dfdT— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 21, 2022
Utah has failed to get past the second round of the playoffs in six straight years, however, and has a new coach after Quin Snyder resigned on June 5 and was replaced by Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy.
Brooklyn may be headed for a roster overhaul as well as news broke Thursday that Durant has requested a trade and the Nets have begun the process of finding a new home for the 2013-14 NBA MVP.
ESPN reported the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat to be two of the teams on Durant's wish list. The Nets went into the 2021-22 season as favourites to win the NBA title but finished a disappointing seventh in the Eastern Conference following a tumultuous campaign that ended with Brooklyn being swept by Boston in the first round.
Durant missed 27 games in 2021-22 while unavailable part of the season with a knee injury, while fellow star Kyrie Irving played in just 29 games and was ineligible for home games until March due to New York City’s vaccination requirements for COVID-19.
Reported chemistry issues also prompted Brooklyn to trade the former league MVP Harden in-season to the rival 76ers in a deal centred around Simmons, who underwent back surgery in May and has yet to play a game for the Nets.