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NBA trade rumors: Heat could move KZ Okpala before deadline

Now in his third year, Okpala hasn’t panned out.

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Miami Heat President Pat Riley was active the past two trade deadlines. In Feb. 2020, he pulled off a trade for Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill and nearly added Danilo Gallinari. Last year, the Heat traded for Victor Oladipo, Trevor Ariza and Nemanja Bjelica in three separate deals — and even had discussions about Kyle Lowry. Lowry, of course, joined Miami in the off-season in a sign-and-trade for Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa.

But Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald said that this deadline could “be met next Thursday with a collective shrug.”

However, Jackson said that “a minor Heat deal remains a possibility” and that, according to a league source, Miami could trade KZ Okpala.

Okpala hasn’t played since Dec. 28 with a right wrist injury. (Similar to Markieff Morris, the Heat haven’t provided a timetable for his return.) But the Heat could have used an ambulatory power forward recently. When P.J. Tucker and Caleb Martin each missed a game this week, Erik Spoelstra had to play Dewayne Dedmon and Bam Adebayo together.

While Okpala had a few nice moments earlier this season — and Tucker emerged as a solid mentor for him — he simply hasn’t panned out to the level Miami expected when they traded three second-round picks for him on Draft night 2019.

Jackson said the Heat could trade Okpala for a future second-round pick that would likely never be conveyed, opening up a roster spot for someone on the buyout market. The Heat currently have 14 players on standard contracts, but Miami will convert Caleb Martin’s two-way deal into a standard contract.