NBA trade rumors: Is Clint Capela on the move?

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

February 4th, 2020

You’ll have to excuse Clint Capela if he seems a little skittish these days. The Rockets center has had his name mentioned in dozens of potential trades over the past week as Houston GM Daryl Morey attempts to wheel and deal his way to an elusive NBA championship.

Some rumors have Capela being dealt to the Detroit Pistons for Andre Drummond. Others have him going to the Boston Celtics for Daniel Theis and spare parts. If you dig deeply enough you can probably even find scuttlebutt about Capela being sent to a junior varsity team for three jockstraps and a ball rack.

Let’s get to the bottom of why the Rockets want to get rid of Capela and examine where he may end up.

Why do the Rockets want to trade Clint Capela?

Capela is on the books for three more years and $51.3 million. The Rockets believe that money would be better spent on a versatile perimeter player who can cans threes and defend smaller, quicker players.

Are the Rockets better off without Caplea?

The numbers certainly seem to suggest so. The Rockets are undefeated since Capela went down with a heel contusion and are 9-1 when he sits this season. Capela’s recent absence has allowed Mike D’Antoni to experiment with his starting five and on Friday he unleashed the smallest rotation in the past 57 years. The “Tuckwagon” as the rotation has since become known, defeated the Dallas Mavericks despite being outrebounded 62-47 and being outscored 50-48 in the paint.

Is Clint Capela any good?

Hell yes! The 25-year-old center is a premier rim roller who finishes well in traffic and is a fearsome presence in the paint on defense. Capela is averaging 13.9 and 13.8 rebounds per game and ranks in the top 10 in blocks and field-goal percentage. Any team would be lucky to have him. Yes, even the Rockets.

Can the Rockets actually win without a bona fide center?    

That’s a good question. The Rockets can squeak by lesser clubs like the Mavs with their mini Lineup of Death, but they’ll have their hands full in the playoffs against teams like the Lakers, who are tall and mobile. Anthony Davis is able to play multiple frontcourt positions and is equally comfortable patrolling the paint as he is shutting down three-point shooters on the perimeter. Ditto for LeBron James, who has played every position known to man in his 17 years in the league.

Where will Capela end up?

If Capela is dealt it could be part of a three-team trade involving the Rockets, Hawks, and Timberwolves. Houston would get Robert Covington, Capela would go to Atlanta, and Minnesota would end up with draft picks and young assets.

The trade would seemingly satisfy all parties. The Rockets would get the hardnosed 3-and-D specialist they covet, the Hawks would get a talented twin tower to pair alongside John Collins, and the Timberwolves would get to hit reset on their umpteenth rebuild. It’s a rare win-win-win proposition. Stay tuned to see if it actually unfolds.  

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