NBA

Heat trade Meyers Leonard for Trevor Ariza

Dec 25, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard (0) dribbles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Heat trade Meyers Leonard for Trevor Ariza. The Heat move on from Meyers Leonard after he used an anti-Semitic slur on his gaming live stream while also bolstering their wing depth. Shams Charania reported that the Heat traded Leonard and a future 2nd round draft pick for Trevor Ariza. 

Leonard isn’t expected to be apart of the Thunder’s plans moving forward. After the Heat trade, Meyers Leonard for Trevor Ariza, the Thunder have a team option on Leonard’s deal next year, which they are likely not to pick up. They also receive a future second-round, adding to their war chest of draft capital.

Ariza never suited up for Oklahoma City this season. Despite that, the Thunder were still able to extract value from him.

How does Ariza help the Heat?

Mar 10, 2020; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza (8) shoots over Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) during the third quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat have begun to bounce back after a slow start this season. Jimmy Butler has worked himself into an MVP candidate after coming back from COVID-19. Bam Adebayo has also taken a step forward.

The Heat have tried to answer who plays the four in their starting/closing lineup. Jae Crowder filled that spot after he was acquired at the deadline last year. He was a tough defender that also caught fire from three in the playoffs. He was a key player on why the Heat made a run to the Finals last season.

However, Crowder departed to the Phoenix Suns this offseason. The Heat have tried several guys at his spot. Mo Harkless started there for a bit, but he fell out of the rotation. KZ Okpala has shown flashes at this spot, but he isn’t solid enough to play minutes in a playoff setting.

Ariza isn’t as physical as Crowder. He might have trouble handling overpowering wings like Giannis Antetokoumpo. However, he has more length than Crowder and could provide some help in rotations and scramble situations. The Heat can also try Butler and Adebayo on Giannis this year.

If he can find his stroke offensively, though, he can provide extra spacing for Adebayo and Butler to go to work. It’s a solid pickup for the Heat overall.

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