Almost 24 hours before the NBA Trade Deadline on February 10 at 3 pm Eastern Time, the Miami Heat announced that they had traded KZ Okpala to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a 2026 second-round pick.
In addition, both the Heat and the Thunder agreed to amend the protections on a first-round pick that the Heat owed Oklahoma City. According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Heat and the Thunder also agreed to tweak a previous pact they had concerning draft capital.
Here are the details.
With this trade, the Miami Heat have now freed up their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks, meaning they can use either one of the picks to trade for a potential player to help continue their hot run this season.
The Miami Heat had yet to get in on the trading frenzy this season, until they did. On Wednesday, they traded KZ Okpala to the Thunder.
That might make good use of the current draft picks (both first and second-rounders) to add on to an already strong Heat squad heading towards the playoffs.
In his time with the Heat, Okpala played 63 games and averaged 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game while shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 27.3 percent behind the arc.
This season, Okpala played 21 games and had averages of 3.7 points, two rebounds, and 0.7 assists in nearly 12 minutes played per game while shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from behind the arc.
The Heat acquired the draft rights to KZ Okpala as a part of a three-team trade with the Phoenix Suns and the Indiana Pacers in 2019. The Heat sent their 2022, 2025, and 2026 second-round draft picks to the Pacers, while the Suns sent T.J. Warren to the Pacers in exchange for cash considerations.
Okpala was originally drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 2019 NBA Draft as the 32nd overall pick. With the trade being completed, Miami is now $2.13 million under the luxury tax and will now be able to sign one of their two-way players, Caleb Martin, who is having the best season of his career this season.
He might be having the best year of any two-way player ever. The Heat must sign a 14th player within the next two weeks (not including the two-way players).
With this move and that fact, elevating Caleb Martin is all but certain.