The 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Stanford, Okpala appeared in just 63 games across three seasons for Miami. In 2021/22, he has 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, he’ll eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end. Otherwise, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers. By waiving Okpala, the Thunder clear a spot on their 15-man roster.
It’s possible they could ink Mamadi Diakite to a new deal, since they ended his 10-day contract a day early to complete the trade for Okpala. The trade was clearly about Miami’s future first-round pick that is owed to OKC, which was amended as part of the trade.
Instead of owing Oklahoma City their top-14 protected first-round pick in 2023, the Heat will now owe OKC their 2025 first-rounder (also top-14 protected).
That ’23 first-rounder would have been top-14 protected for three straight seasons before becoming unprotected in 2026. Now, the Heat’s ’25 first-rounder will be lottery-protected for just one year before becoming unprotected in ’26.
Essentially, the Thunder improved their odds of gaining a higher first-rounder by pushing the pick a couple years into the future (when the Heat could theoretically be less assured of having a playoff-caliber roster) and ensuring it has just one year of protection.
The 2026 second-rounder the Heat acquired in the trade will be the least favorable of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ second-rounders that year, according to the Heat’s announcement.