UPDATE: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Houston Rockets are “engaged” in trade discussions surrounding Clint Capela, with the Atlanta Hawks in the mix.
As trade deadline looms on Thursday, Houston is engaged with several Eastern Conference teams -- including Atlanta -- on C Clint Capela, league sources tell ESPN. There are a few multi-team trade scenarios in play.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 3, 2020
The trade deadline is rapidly approaching in the NBA and, throughout the 2019-20 season, the Atlanta Hawks have been linked to the potential pursuit of a starting-caliber center. On Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic injected a new name into the conversation, with a report that the Hawks are “among several teams expressing interest” in Houston Rockets center Clint Capela.
Charania does note that the Rockets are “said to be unlikely to move him barring an overwhelming offer,” but it is notable that Atlanta would be jumping into the mix. The 25-year-old big man is averaging 13.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game in his sixth NBA season, and Capela is well known for his efficiency, shooting 63 percent from the floor for his career.
Within the same report, an eye-popping nugget emerged, with Charania reporting that “several teams are monitoring Hawks big man John Collins and feeling out Atlanta’s asking price.” It would be jarring if the Hawks were even taking calls on Collins at this juncture, but the mere mention of that potential is certainly noteworthy.
As for Capela, one of the more intriguing points of discussion in any pursuit of his services would be an appetizing contract. The veteran center is under team control through the 2022-23 season, earning $14.9 million this season, $16 million for 2020-21, $17.1 million for 2021-22 and $18.2 million for 2022-23. That is a more than reasonable price for a quality starter at the position and, given his age, Capela would seemingly fit in well with what the Hawks are trying to build.
Because the Rockets are pushing for the playoffs and potential contention, Houston would almost certainly be seeking ready-made assets for Capela, along the with the potential incentive for the Rockets to duck under the luxury tax. In short, the Hawks aren’t in a position to realistically provide the combination of salary matching and players that would help Houston pursue a title. Still, there are three-team deals that could make sense and, even if Capela and Collins are not a perfect fit in the same frontcourt, adding another good basketball player at a position of need wouldn’t be a negative by any means.