F - FA
The Thunder have waived forward KZ Okpala after acquiring him via trade this week from the Heat.
Okpala hasn't played since December 28 and his absence will be extended. The third-year role player has only appeared in 21 games this season averaging 11.6 minutes and 3.7 points.
Per Brett Siegel, the Heat have traded KZ Okpala to the Thunder in exchange for a 2026 second-round pick.
The departure of Okpala will not have any major implications on the other Heat players as he only played in 21 games this season while averaging 11.6 minutes per game. The 22-year-old is bound to see more minutes on a Thunder team that does not have as much high end talent as the Heat. Monitor his new workload.
KZ Okpala has put on 10-12 pounds since the NBA shutdown, according to coach Eric Spoelstra. Spoelstra stated that Okpala looks different and this extra practice time with the team is what he needed.
Okpala has played in only five games so far this season, scoring a season high of just seven points during a game in February. However, Okpala could be a player who benefits from the NBA restart as coach Spoelstra seems set on including a larger roster in Orlando. Okpala has seen next to no fantasy value all season, but he has now caught the eyes of his coaching staff. In eight games before playoffs, Okpala could get an opportunity to play some significant minutes.
"KZ Okpala's defense is NBA-ready and his offensive game is steadily improving," said Heat's Assistant GM Adam Simon.
“Once mid-January came around, we saw the strides. He was feeling more comfortable with the ball in his hands. The game was slowing down for him. The greatest things he was doing were on the defensive end, making an impact guarding multiple positions. At times, he was switched onto [centers], guarding both forward positions, being versatile, doing a great job on the glass. All those things were positives," Simon added. Okpala averaged 1.4 points, 1.0 rebounds, 0.4 steals and 0.2 blocks across five games for the Heat this season. The 21-year-old dealt with an Achilles injury earlier in the year and was sent to the G-League in December. Based on these recent comments, the Heat anticipate keeping Okpala on the roster once the 2019-2020 NBA season resumes.
KZ Okpala scored seven points (3-5 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT), while adding four rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist across 21 minutes in Friday’s 105-97 loss against the Kings.
Okpala was recently recalled from the G-league, where he had been averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds per game. He was active on both sides of the court in tonight’s game. DFS owners who randomly rolled the dice with Okpala based on his minimum price tag, got a decent fantasy output from the rookie. There is no reason to rush to the waiver wire to pick him up, as his minutes were a result of several players ruled out due to injuries. Okpala and the Heat will next play on Sunday against the Trailblazers.