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Is Okpala trade a precursor to a big move this summer?

Right after the Heat make their pick in the 2022 Draft, they can trade him and their 2023 pick.

Miami Heat v Utah Jazz Photo by Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat didn’t end up using either their 2022 or 2023 first-round pick to trade for P.J. Washington or anyone else on Thursday. But could we see the minor KZ Okpala trade that gave Miami more draft pick flexibility pay dividends over the summer?

John Hollinger of The Athletic awarded the Okpala trade the “Let’s get crazy award” in a column Friday. He pointed to a scenario on Draft night in which the Heat trade both their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks right after making their pick this year. Teams cannot trade future first-round picks in consecutive seasons, but trading the player right after he’s drafted along with next year’s first-round pick is allowed.

Maybe it could land Donovan Mitchell on the Heat. In a post-trade deadline podcast episode, hosts Chris Mannix and Howard Beck and guests Michael Pina and Rohan Nadkarni spoke about rumors that Mitchell wants to leave the Utah Jazz. Nadkarni spoke of a possible trade involving Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin and how Dwyane Wade is “the ultimate sleeper agent.”

Last month, I said that disappointing playoff finishes from both the Jazz and Heat could bring the two sides together for a Mitchell trade. For now, that’s where I still am. The Heat are the number-one seed in the East, but the top five teams are separated by just two-and-a-half games. If the standings held, Miami and the Brooklyn Nets would face in the first round, presumably with a healthy Kevin Durant and a motivated Ben Simmons.

The Heat are in win-now mode with Jimmy Butler signed to a max extension and Kyle Lowry in the midst of a three-year deal. The goal is a championship, not a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Okpala trade didn’t foreshadow a trade for a backup power forward. But it gives Miami flexibility to make a trade for a superstar this summer.