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Heat trade suspended center Meyers Leonard to Thunder

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard was fined $50,000 and suspended for one week after using an anti-Semitic slur during a video game live stream earlier this month. Photo courtesy of the Miami Heat
Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard was fined $50,000 and suspended for one week after using an anti-Semitic slur during a video game live stream earlier this month. Photo courtesy of the Miami Heat

March 17 (UPI) -- The Miami Heat traded suspended center Meyers Leonard to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, the team announced.

The Heat sent Leonard and a 2027 second-round draft pick to the Thunder in exchange for veteran forward Trevor Ariza. The deal also generated a trade exception for the Thunder.

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Oklahoma City said in a statement that Leonard won't be an active part of the Thunder moving forward and won't report to the team.

Last week, the NBA fined Leonard $50,000 for his use of an anti-Semitic slur during a video game live stream earlier this month. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also gave Leonard a one-week suspension following the incident.

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"Meyers Leonard's comment was inexcusable and hurtful and such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in our society," Silver said in a news release. "[On March 10], he spoke to representatives of the Anti-Defamation League to better understand the impact of his words, and we accept that he is genuinely remorseful.

"We have further communicated to Meyers that derogatory comments like this will not be tolerated and that he will be expected to uphold the core values of our league -- equality, tolerance, inclusion and respect -- at all times moving forward."

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Since his comments earlier this month, Leonard has been working with the Jewish community in South Florida. He will continue to rehabilitate his injured shoulder and train in the area.

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"Meyers was a key part of our team that made a run to the NBA Finals and we will always be grateful for his contributions and leadership last season," the Heat said in a statement Wednesday.

"His recent comments were very hurtful and disappointing, but, we are encouraged that he has spent this last week meeting with community leaders, Rabbis and Holocaust survivors to greater understand the impact of his words and we hope that his education will continue. We wish Meyers and Elle the best of luck in the future."

Leonard, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2012 draft, has averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds across 447 career games (93 starts) with the Portland Trail Blazers and Heat.

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The acquisition of the 35-year-old Ariza gives the Heat a versatile and established wing player for its Eastern Conference postseason push. He hasn't played a game in a year, opting out of the Orlando restart due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ariza has averaged 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists over his 16 NBA seasons.

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