UPDATE: The deal was officially announced on Wednesday evening. On Thursday morning, the Hawks officially waived Nene.
With less than one week until the 2020 trade deadline, word broke that the Atlanta Hawks were reportedly displaying interest in acquiring Houston Rockets center Clint Capela. Approximately 48 hours later, the heat turned up with reporting that the Hawks and Rockets were “engaged” in talks surrounding the talented center. From there, multi-team discussions came to light and, ultimately, the deal came to fruition, with Atlanta adding a starting center for the next several seasons.
ESPN Sources: 4-team trade agreement: Houston: Robert Covington; Atlanta: Clint Capela and Nene; Minnesota: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Evan Turner, ATL 1st round pick via Nets; Denver: Gerald Green, Houston FRP.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 5, 2020
At this juncture, the deal is not official, though ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that an agreement has been made in principle. To make the four-team deal happen, the Hawks will reportedly send out Evan Turner (and, more importantly, his $18.6 million salary) and the team’s rights to a 2020 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports that Atlanta will also include a 2024 second-round pick (via the Warriors) in the deal.
In addition, Atlanta will reportedly take Nene Hilario’s contract — worth $2.56 million in base salary, provided he is cut by mid-February — along with Capela. From a roster standpoint, the Hawks will need to clear a spot before the deal can become official, as Atlanta entered the day with 15 players. It remains to be seen what that move will be.
Capela, who is 25 years old, is averaging almost 14 points and 14 rebounds per game this season and he is incredibly efficient on the offensive end, shooting more than 60 percent from the floor. Defensively, Capela also brings value as a traditional center that can protect the rim and move functionally in space.
From a contract perspective, Capela 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 in the final season. Given the going rate for a player of his caliber in free agency, that is likely viewed as a bargain on Atlanta’s side, and Capela addresses the well-documented question about the team’s starting center.
Over the next several months, the Hawks should have the opportunity to evaluate the core with a new member in the middle. In the end, Atlanta seemingly zeroed in on the center position for a long stretch and, prior to the Thursday afternoon deadline, Travis Schlenk and the front office secured the player they were rumored to covet.