Houston Rockets center Clint Capela is just 23-years-old and is already a household name in the league. Capela is the shot-blocking, defensive anchor General Manager Daryl Morey envisioned when he drafted him with the 25th pick in the 2014 Draft. In the final year of his rookie contract worth $2.3 million, Capela is pacing to earn a huge contract this offseason as an unrestricted free-agent.
According to Kelly Iko of USA Today, numerous teams have Capela on their free-agency radar including the Phoenix Suns. A league source told Iko that Phoenix has become “enamored” with Capela, planning to offer him a max or near-max contract this offseason, pairing him with star guard Devin Booker.
— NBA Buzz (@OfficalNBABuzz) May 10, 2018
A max contract from Phoenix would be essential for Capela financially, but on the court, he may not be the same player. His best option is to stay put in Houston, re-sign for as much as he could, and continue to win alongside James Harden and Chris Paul.
It’s safe to imagine that Capela’s numbers would take a dip if he departs from Houston—Harden and Paul combined for 16.7 assists per game in 2017-18 and are considered two of the league’s best passers. With lots of lobs and great positioning to score the ball, the duo helped Capela average 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in 74 games for Houston this past season. Houston finished the season with an NBA-best 65-17 record and Capela is partially responsible for it.
Former NBA star and TNT announcer Chris Webber once gave Capela a backhanded compliment about playing with James Harden and Chris Paul after recording 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in a game. “To be a big fella playing with [James] Harden and [Chris] Paul,” Webber said. “All you got to do is be in shape, keep your track shoes ready, and hopefully have some good hands to catch it when he gives it to you.”
Capela is a very skilled big man who uses his size and length to disrupt shots and score in the paint. Us, as well as Webber, are not knocking Capela but it’s possible he would be a different player elsewhere.
Phoenix finished the 2017-18 season with a 21-61 record—the second-worst in franchise history and worst in the NBA. Phoenix has not had a winning season since 2014 and has failed to win more than 24 games in each of the past three seasons. Houston, on the other hand, dominated and became the first team to lead the league in wins besides Golden State since San Antonio in 2013-14.
Clint Capela is in a tough situation. Win and sacrifice money with Houston or become a part of a team who are not guaranteed playoff contenders but a place where he’ll get paid.
The talk of the NBA world prior to the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline was New Orleans Pelicans fo…