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Heat news: KZ Okpala traded to Thunder for 2026 second-round pick, amend protected pick

The deal could have bigger implications in the future.

NBA: Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly 24 hours prior to the 3 p.m. EST trade deadline on Feb. 10, the Miami Heat have traded forward KZ Okpala to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 2026 second-round pick, the team announced Wednesday.

The Heat and Thunder also agreed to amend the protections of the Miami’s first-round pick that it owed to Oklahoma City in 2023, pushing it back to a 2025 first-round protected pick (that would turn into a 2026 unprotected pick if not conveyed), the team also announced via press release.

Originally, if its 2023 pick didn’t convey, it would roll over to a lottery-protected pick in 2024, a lottery-protected pick in 2025 (if not conveyed in 2024) to an unprotected first-round pick in 2026 (if not conveyed in 2024 or 2025).

Now, the Heat have freed up ability to deal its 2023 first-round pick outright in any trade before Thursday — or during the offseason — if it chooses to. (A big plus!)

This transaction also opens up another roster spot for Miami, who have 13 active players on its roster with two additional two-way contract players in Caleb Martin and Kyle Guy. It could now convert Martin to a standard minimum contract without exceeding the luxury tax threshold.

The Heat acquired Okpala — the No. 32 overall pick in 2019 — on draft night in a three-team deal in exchange for not one, not two, but three second-round picks. In his Heat career (63 games), the lengthy 6-foot-8 defensive-oriented wing averaged 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds on 40.6 percent shooting, including 27.3 percent from distance and 60.7 percent from the free-throw line (48.3 TS%).

Okpala, having a career year, has not played since Dec. 28 with a wrist injury. In 21 games this season, he’s averaged 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds, shooting 43.5 percent from the floor, 34.6 percent from 3-point range and 72.7 percent from the free-throw line (52.1 TS%) — all career highs.

This is breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates . If you want to see more of Matt’s Heat takes and more incessant sports-centric tweets, follow him on Twitter @mph_824_.