Former Jazzman & NBA success story gets new payday: Report

Former Jazz player Royce O'Neale only continued to add to his impressive rise as an NBA player with his latest extension.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Four / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

While he may not play for the Utah Jazz anymore, Royce O'Neale's story has only served to inspure those who have aspirations to play in the NBA. His latest payday is only further evidence of that,

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Suns have agreed to a new deal with O'Neale while revealing the details of his latest deal.

Zach Lowe added that O'Neale has no options on the deal, meaning that he will get that $44 million paid in full.

The Suns acquired O'Neale at the deadline from the Nets on an expiring contract, so retaining him was considered a wise move. Not only is O'Neale a 3&D wing, but he has experience playing next to Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. The Suns are concerningly low on two-way players, knowing their title aspirations, so having O'Neale locked up long-term was the right move.

O'Neale has not been associated with the Jazz since 2022, and it's likely that he never will be again for the rest of his NBA career. However, him rising up well enough to get a second payday worth eight figures is awesome to see knowing where he had to start.

Royce O'Neale rose through the ranks in Utah

O'Neale had to start his NBA career from the ground up. After going undrafted in 2015, O'Neale spent two years overseas before the Jazz brought him on to their 2017 Summer League team. He was impressive enough during his Summer League stint that the Jazz signed him to an NBA deal.

The rest, of course, is history. Though he started with the SLC Stars, O'Neale played well enough to be consistently featured in their rotation to the point where the Jazz gave him his first big contract worth $36 million over four years. O'Neale may not have finished that contract with the Jazz, but his newest contract with the Suns shows that he was far from a bad investment.

Even if O'Neale's days with the Jazz are in the past, his story shows that even if it didn't start out the way it usually has for most players, the NBA isn't necessarily completely out of reach for any aspiring professional basketball player. All it takes is the right team and the right opportunity.

O'Neale's success in the NBA is also a signal to any NBA player that the Jazz's G-League system could be just what a player needs to make it to the big leagues. Utah may not necessarily lure the biggest names in free agency, but it has been home to multiple success stories like O'Neale's.