Meyers Leonard Waived by Thunder After Heat Trade

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 25, 2021

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)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Oklahoma City Thunder have waived forward Meyers Leonard, who they received via trade on March 17.

The team announced the move on Thursday. 

When the deal—which sent Trevor Ariza to the Miami Heat—was finalized, the Thunder said Leonard would "not be an active member of the organization" and did not report to Oklahoma City. 

Leonard was suspended from team activities for one week and was fined $50,000 after he used an anti-Semitic slur during a Call of Duty live stream on March 8. 

In an apology, Leonard said he "didn't know what the word meant at the time" but said his ignorance "is absolutely not an excuse." 

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard releases statement apologizing for saying anti-Semitic slur on a livestream: https://t.co/AOi7ZE6nCy

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also released a statement on the incident (via ESPN's Malika Andrews): 

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

Andrews reported that Leonard would be undergoing a mandatory cultural diversity training and had met voluntarily with the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded to fight anti-Semitism. In 2019, the ADL reported a 12 percent increase in anti-Semitic acts compared to 2018 and the highest number recorded since the organization began tracking in 1979. 

Leonard appeared in three games for the Heat this season, his ninth in the league, before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. During his suspension, he was still compensated for the games the Heat played, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks (h/t Andrews). 

The 29-year-old is currently rehabbing the injury and working with the South Florida Jewish community, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski