Trade Grade: Miami Heat Trades KZ Okpala to the Oklahoma City Thunder

KZ Okpala, Miami Heat
Image Credit: (Mike Watters/ USA Today Sports)

The NBA Trade Deadline is on February 10th, 2022 and I expected many transactions to occur especially trades. Some trades are a blockbuster deal like the Domantas Sabonis trade but there are some that are not blockbuster. Especially this one involving the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat striking a trade involving KZ Okpala.

Miami Heat acquire: 2026 Second round pick
Oklahoma City Thunder acquire:  SF/SG KZ Okpala

Miami Heat Side
The Miami Heat were not utilizing Okpala that much on their team and when he was Okpala was not consistent. It was clear they were going nowhere with him. Plus the Heat needed some salary relief to not exceed the luxury tax. The Heat save 1.8 million dollars making this move plus they get an extra draft resource to utilize in a future draft or as extra ammo in a trade for a player. This moves also opens a spot up for the Miami Heat to bring in a player that would fit their system more than Okpala would.

Oklahoma City Thunder Side:
But this is something not a lot of people are paying attention to and it involves one of the many 1st round picks in Oklahoma City Thunder’s Pick Collection. So one of the Miami heat 1st round picks was sent to Oklahoma City in the Paul George Trade. This draft pick was a Top 14 protected pick in 2023, 2024, and 2025. If the pick has not been made then it will be an unprotected 1st round pick in 2026. Now in the KZ Okpala trade that was just made the Heat and Thunder made agreement of changing the conveyance of the draft pick. Instead of having it convey in between the the 2023 and 2026 NBA Draft, the 1st round pick will only convey in the 2025 or 2026 NBA Draft

This trade proves one thing. Sam Presti is a genius as now the Oklahoma City Thunder could have four first round picks in the 2025 NBA Draft. Plus the Miami Heat will likely become a worse team in 2025 or 2026 and the Thunder are likely to receive a higher selection as a result of this deal. Like I said Presti is a genius and Okpala could be something if properly develop. Worse for worse they tried and can cut ties with him as his contract expires at the end of the season. The Thunder have plenty of second round picks to play with so loosing the draft pick is worth it for clarification on one of their many 1st round picks.

Grades for KZ Okpala Trade
Miami Heat: A
Oklahoma City Thunder: A

This is a win win trade for both teams. The Oklahoma City Thunder take a chance on a player that could be something and did not have to sacrifice much. For the Heat they get salary relief and grow their draft capital. This is a clear cut example of a win-win trade and I will give both teams the same grade. Great move by both GM Sam Presti of the Oklahoma City Thunder and GM Andy Elisburg of the Miami Heat.

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