The teams were working to schedule a trade call with the league, which signs off on all deals, according to the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was still pending.
Leonard, who needed to sign off on the trade because of his contract status, has done so, according to one of the people who was familiar with the terms of the agreement. The Thunder are not expected to keep Leonard, who is unable to play the rest of this season because of a shoulder injury and has a team option for about $10.2 million next season.
Leonard has been away from the Heat for more than a week after a video surfaced of him using an anti-Semitic slur while livestreaming the playing of a video game. He apologized for the incident, which was roundly criticized by the Heat, Jewish groups and even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver – who fined Leonard $50,000 and barred him from being around the Heat for one week. The team had previously said Leonard would be away from the team indefinitely.
Leonard will become a free agent this summer with the Thunder not planning to exercise the option.
The Heat will get to add wing depth for the second consecutive season through a trade for a player who had been sitting out for months. They did it last year as part of a trade with Memphis that brought Andre Iguodala to Miami, and now do it with Ariza – who was part of three trades in November and ended up with Oklahoma City, though has never played for the Thunder.
The 35-year-old Ariza was born in Miami, has been working out in Miami of late and is about to make the Heat his 10th team in 17 seasons. He most recently played for Portland, starting 21 games and averaging 11 points for the Trail Blazers last season.
The 6-foot-8 Ariza is also considered a strong defender, and has made 36% of his 3-point tries in the last three seasons.
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