Meyers Leonard has been traded following controversy last month. After using an anti-Semitic slur on a Twitch stream, Leonard’s days in Miami were considered limited. On top of being injured for the foreseeable future, his days in the league may be limited too. Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news along with a follow-up almost ensuring the forward will not be a part of the Thunder organization.
Once the trade is completed, there’s no expectation that Leonard would be a part of the Thunder moving forward. Deal is expected to be completed today. https://t.co/OXW3dyYiUZ
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 17, 2021
Leonard only appeared in three games this season for the Miami Heat, averaging very low stats in those games. After shoulder surgery that shut his season down for good, the best thing he could have done was lay low. Unfortunately, a slur, $50,000 fine, and a trade later Leonard is looking like he is on the way out of the NBA.
The most important aspect of this trade, however, is Trevor Ariza heading to Miami. Ariza has now officially been traded 11 times in his career, the most of any player ever in the NBA. Ariza did not participate in the NBA bubble restart due to family considerations. At 35 years old, the former 2004 second-round pick has proven himself a valuable and versatile wing player. In the 2019-20 season, Ariza traveled from Sacramento to Portland. He averaged 8.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.3 steals a game. He also shot 55.6% from the field including 37.2% from three.
For the Miami Heat, this deal allows them to move on from the Leonard controversy and focus on making it back to the Finals this season. Ariza is going to be a positive influence on and off the court for this Heat team. Offering a bit more defense on the wing and another shooting threat from deep is only good in this league. The trade allowed OKC to pick up a trade exception. The Thunder now have 17 first-round and 15 second-round picks through the 2027 draft.