Thunder waive embattled F Meyers Leonard shortly after trade deadline

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forward Meyers Leonard on Thursday shortly after the NBA's trade deadline, the team announced.

The Thunder acquired Leonard from the Miami Heat on March 17 in the aftermath of his use of an anti-Semitic slur on a video game stream. Leonard's expiring contract carried value that the Heat leveraged in the trade to acquire Trevor Ariza.

The Thunder announced on the day of the trade that Leonard "will not be reporting to Oklahoma City and will not be an active member of the organization." Thursday's move confirms that stance.

Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard (0) runs up the court after a play during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
The Thunder waived Leonard on Thursday after the NBA trade deadline. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Will Meyers Leonard play again in the NBA?

Leonard, 29, was in his ninth season in the NBA and his second with the Heat prior to the trade to OKC. He averaged 6.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.3 minutes per game last season. A shoulder injury limited him to just three games this season.

Leonard had surgery on his injured left shoulder in February and presumably could be physically ready to sign in the offseason free-agent market and play next season. To do so, a team will have to determine that Leonard offers enough as a player to offset the stigma of signing someone best known for using an anti-Semitic slur. That he's a marginal player to begin with won't help his cause.

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