NBA rumors: Heat exploring Trevor Ariza trade with Thunder

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports /

According to the latest NBA rumors, the Miami Heat are exploring a deal for Trevor Ariza.

The Miami Heat make a ton of sense as a buyer heading into the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline, but this probably wasn’t what most people had in mind.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Heat are exploring a potential trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for veteran wing Trevor Ariza.

Ariza, 35, has been away from the Thunder this season and has yet to play during the 2020-21 campaign.

The Heat are interested in Trevor Ariza

As O’Connor notes, the Heat are not the only team interested in landing Ariza’s services. All the Thunder are seeking in return is a second-round pick, which makes sense, since Ariza’s value is incredibly low right now given that he hasn’t played at all this season.

The 35-year-old wing is on a $12.8 million expiring contract, which may be difficult to match without giving up an actual player in addition to the second-rounder OKC wants. For their part, the Heat could dump Meyers Leonard’s $9.4 million salary on the Thunder, ridding the franchise of a guy who’s missed most of the season due to shoulder surgery and recently embarrassed the Heat (and the NBA in general) by dropping an antisemitic slur during a Call of Duty livestream.

Another option could be Kelly Olynyk’s $12.1 million salary, but he actually serves a purpose in Miami as a versatile big.

In any case, the Heat are expected to be aggressive in seeking upgrades of any kind as the trade deadline approaches. Miami has admittedly turned things around after that dreadful 7-14 start, winning 14 of its last 18 games heading into Tuesday night’s matchup with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, but Pat Riley is known for always being aggressive. Coming off last year’s unexpected Finals run, and with Jimmy Butler’s prime beginning to wind down here soon, the Heat will leave no stone unturned … even if said stone is more of an Ariza-sized pebble.

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