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Report: Nets trading first-rounder to Jazz for Royce O’Neale

Royce O'Neale and Kevin Durant in Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 21: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets in action against Royce O’Neale #23 of the Utah Jazz at Barclays Center on March 21, 2022 in New York City. The Nets defeated the Jazz 114-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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Kevin Durant just requested a trade from the Nets.

Brooklyn already has a new forward – Royce O’Neale from the Jazz.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

The Nets must choose a direction with Durant asking out. Trading a first-round pick for a 29-year-old O’Neale is a curious choice.

Remember all the discussion about Utah’s weak perimeter defense in front of Rudy Gobert? That wasn’t just about Donovan Mitchell. A supposed defensive specialist, O’Neale took a big step back last season, though at least continued to shoot well on 3-pointers.

The Jazz might have been pleased to unload his $9.2 million salary for next year and $2.5 million guarantee (of $9.5 million) for the following year. A first-rounder is even better.

Juancho Hernangomez’s $7,307,130 salary for next season was unguaranteed.

These cost-trimming moves position Utah to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception this summer. That should draw a player better than O’Neale and Hernangomez.