The 2019 NBA draft is a few days away, and the Houston Rockets are not on a clock. Thanks to a desperate attempt to add depth to their roster, the Rockets shipped their first-round pick to Sacramento to acquire Iman Shumpert at the trade deadline in February.
Now, as they try to shake up their roster by acquiring younger talents, the Rockets have been adamant about trading one of their core players for a chance to select within the top 20 in this year’s draft.
While Chris Paul has been in the midst of most trade rumors surrounding the Rockets, it is hard to imagine anyone giving up a top pick for the aging All-Star, and the same can be said for P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon. However, there is one player on the Rockets current roster who would be worth exchanging for a draft pick.
At 25-years old and one of the most intriguing young big men in the league, a deal for Clint Capela could move Houston into the top 20, and it could come from their Southwest Division rival, the New Orleans Pelicans.
The worst-kept secret in the league is finally over, Anthony Davis is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. After six months of drama, speculations, and rumors, the Pelicans finally traded their disgruntled star to Los Angeles, and in return, received a ton of assets that included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks in the deal.
Among the multiple picks obtained from the Lakers, one included the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. Although the Pelicans have a rare opportunity to select two top-tier prospects in this year’s draft, New Orleans’ Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, David Griffin, has expressed interest in trading their fourth overall pick for the right pieces.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, multiple teams around the league have expressed significant interest in the Pelicans’ fourth pick, and that a deal may be in place within the next few days.
As of now, it is unsure what would catch the attention of Griffin to trade their pick, but one thing is for sure, the Pelicans will look to add another complementary piece to their core of young and talented players. And with New Orleans in need of a big man following the departure of Davis, the Rockets may have a chance to enter the lottery with a deal for Capela.
Teams are already expressing significant interest in the No. 4 overall pick belonging now to the Pelicans, league sources tell ESPN. Talks are expected to continue over the next few days. This deal could get even bigger for the Pelicans.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2019
Sure, New Orleans will not be able to replace the generational talent Davis showcased for seven seasons in the Big Easy, but Capela’s averages of 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks might be enough to hail the Switzerland native as the Pelicans’ franchise big man. And while playing next to Ball, Capela will give New Orleans two lethal pick-and-roll options on the offensive end, alongside potential number one pick Zion Williamson.
For the Rockets, trading into the top of the draft would be a huge success. However, trading into the top five has the potential to become a franchise-defining moment. With the fourth overall pick, the Rockets can go several routes in an attempt to reconstruct their roster for a title run in 2020.
With the possibility of a potential exit by CP3, Houston will have the ability to pair James Harden with a new backcourt mate by selecting Coby White, the most talented point guard coming out of the draft. If not a point guard, the Rockets will have the opportunity to fill their biggest hole on the team by drafting DeAndre Hunter, the second best small forward in the class of 2019.
Now, the possibility of the Pelicans trading the No. 4 overall pick straight up for Clint Capela may not be enough to close the deal, and Griffin likely asks for additional pieces in return, but Capela could be the centerpiece of a potential trade. Regardless if they can make a deal with the Pelicans or not, there is hope that the Houston Rockets will find themselves on the clock at some point during Thursday’s draft.