The Miami Heat have acquired forward Trevor Ariza from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Meyers Leonard and a 2027 second-round Draft selection, the teams announced.
Ariza, a 16-year NBA veteran, was originally acquired by the Thunder in November. He never suited up for Oklahoma City and last played on March 10, 2020 for the Portland Trail Blazers.
OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have acquired forward Trevor Ariza in exchange for Meyers Leonard and a 2027 second round draft selection. https://t.co/UrHONxbn58— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 17, 2021
The Thunder have no plans to keep Leonard despite trading for him.
“Leonard will not be reporting to Oklahoma City and will not be an active member of the organization,” the team said in a statement.
The Heat also released a statement regarding Leonard, who was recently suspended for his use of an anti-Semitic slur while playing a video game that was being livestreamed.
“Meyers was a key part of our team that made a run to the NBA Finals and we will always be grateful for his contributions and leadership last season. His recent comments were very hurtful and disappointing, but, we are encouraged that he has spent this last week meeting with community leaders, Rabbis and Holocaust survivors to greater understand the impact of his words and we hope that his education will continue. We wish Meyers and Elle the best of luck in the future.”
Marc Stein of The New York Times reports that once Ariza makes his way to Miami, shedding Leonard’s salary will help Miami be a stronger contender in the market for San Antonio Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich announced last week the team and Aldridge have mutually agreed to work on opportunities elsewhere.