The Thunder and Heat completed a trade on Wednesday that will send Trevor Ariza to Miami in exchange for Meyers Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick, a deal confirmed by CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter. Ariza has not played in a game since the 2019-20 season, when he was still on the Portland Trail Blazers, so it’s unclear when he’ll be ready to suit up for Miami.
However, despite being past his prime at 35 years old, Ariza is a still a decent 3-and-D player for the right price. Miami isn’t giving up much of anything here, considering Leonard has played in just three games this season due to left shoulder surgery, and the use of an anti-Semitic slur caused him to be suspended from all team activities for a week and a $50,000 fine.
Leonard has a no-trade clause in his contract, but is expected to waive that in order to facilitate the trade, according to Wojnarowski. The Thunder also aren’t expected to keep Leonard after the trade is done, which would make him a free agent.
For OKC, this was more about gaining draft compensation and continuing its rebuild instead of getting anything worth immediate value. That 2027 pick is just another draft selection that the Thunder can add to its treasure trove its acquired after trading away several star players in the last three years.
As for the Heat, Ariza’s value will determine on what version of him they’re getting. In his 21-game stint with the Trail Blazers last season he averaged 11 points and four boards on 40 percent from deep. But earlier in the season, when he was on the Kings, he put up just six points a game and shot 38 percent from the field in 22 appearances. He’s hopped around from team-to-team after leaving Houston in 2018, and has had varying levels of success in different environments.
If Ariza’s able to perform like he did in Portland, then Miami will be adding another defensive-minded wing player to its arsenal as the Heat continue to climb up the rankings in the East after a slow start at the beginning of the season. In their last 10 games, Miami has gone 9-1 and is on a give-game win streak which has the Heat fourth in the East. After overcoming a COVID-19 outbreak and some injuries to the roster, Miami is finally starting to look like the team we saw in the Orlando bubble last year.
Courtesy: CBS Sports