Thunder Waive KZ Okpala | Rumors Hoops

the thunder gave up on KZ Okpala, the team announced. Okpala was acquired via the Heat trade a few days ago.

The 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft at Stanford, Okpala played just 63 games over three seasons for Miami. In 2021/22, he averaged 3.7 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 21 contests (11.6 MPG). Okapala hasn’t played since December due to a wrist injury.

If someone claims Okpala off waivers, they will be eligible for restricted free agency at the end of the season. Otherwise, he will become an unrestricted free agent once he clears the waivers. By giving up Okpala, the Thunder clears a spot on its roster of 15 players.

It’s possible they could ink Mamadi Diakite to a new deal, as they terminated his 10-day contract a day early to complete the trade for Okpala. The trade was clearly for Miami’s future first-round pick due to OKC, which was changed as part of the trade.

Instead of owing Oklahoma City their first-round pick of the 2023 top-14 proteges, the Heat will now owe OKC their first-round pick in 2025 (also a top-14 protege).

That 23-year-old first-rounder would have been protected in the top-14 for three straight seasons before going unprotected in 2026. Now, the 25-year-old Heat first-rounder will be lottery-protected for just one year before going unprotected in 2026.

Essentially, the Thunder improved their chances of getting a higher first round by pushing the pick a few years into the future (when the Heat could theoretically be less certain of having a playoff-caliber roster) and ensuring that only has one year of protection.

The 2026 second round the Heat acquired in the trade will be the least favorable of the Thunder, Mavericks and Sixers second rounds that year, according to the Heat’s announcement.

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