Rumors are swirling and Clint Capela is the subject of them.
Sunday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets were talking to several Eastern Conference teams. One of those teams was revealed to be the Atlanta Hawks.
On Monday, Woj tweeted and confirmed that the Boston Celtics were also among the teams talking to the Rockets about Capela.
It appears that the goal is to trade Capela in exchange for draft capital that can be dealt for a player that best fits their system, like the Grizzlies’ Andre Iguodala or the Timberwolves’ Robert Covington.
There are a lot of moving parts with very little time, but the first step is dealing Capela out east.
Let’s take a look at some hypotheticals where the Rockets can make their move:
Rockets get: F Andre Iguodala
Grizzlies get: F Evan Turner, 2021 first-round pick via ATL
Hawks get: C Clint Capela
In a simple three-team, three-player deal, the Rockets deal Capela to the Hawks and they get their center for a first-round pick with protections. Obviously, the Hawks are not dealing their pick this year, which could very well be the top pick.
If the Rockets can get a potential 2021 lottery pick from the Hawks for Capela, it would almost certainly allow them to net Andre Iguodala from the Grizzlies.
Evan Turner goes to the Grizzlies to match salaries and is likely bought out.
I’m not sure it’s worth trading Capela for just 30+ games of Iguodala, but if Capela goes to Atlanta, one of the most interested suitors, this is a very simple and easy deal that could get the Rockets an important wing defender.
Rockets get: F Robert Covington, C Daniel Theis
Celtics get: C Clint Capela
Timberwolves get: G Romeo Langford, C Vincent Poirier, 2020 first-round picks (via MEM, BOS)
The Celtics have three first-round picks this June: their own, Memphis’s and Milwaukee’s. This puts them in prime position to land Capela, especially with the Rockets seeking draft capital.
A center like Capela could push a team like Boston over the top, and by trading two late first-round picks, two backup centers and rookie Romeo Langford for Capela is a deal you make 10 times out of 10.
The Rockets then take those two firsts, Romeo Langford and Vincent Poirier and flip them to the Wolves for Robert Covington, the player the team has wanted all along.
They also get to keep Daniel Theis, who gives them some size and defense that Capela vacates as he jets for Boston.
If the Rockets are looking for a defensive wing and center, this is the deal to make.
Flipping Capela for Covington and Theis is a win for the Rockets in every way. They take on just a little amount of money, but they can make that money back by dealing Nene in a separate deal.
Covington is an all-NBA defender and this is the move that helps the Rockets the most, but this isn’t just a win for the Rockets.
The Celtics get their center to contend for years to come.
The Rockets get their 3-and-D wing they sorely need.
And the Wolves stock up on the draft picks they need to rebuild their rebuild.
Rockets get: F Robert Covington
Cavaliers get: C Clint Capela, F Jake Layman
Timberwolves get: C Tristan Thompson, 2020 first-round pick (via HOU), 2021 first-round pick (from CLE via MIL)
Although interest has yet to be reported from the Cavs for Capela, this is another trade that makes sense for all parties involved.
The Cavs jettison Thompson’s large, expiring contract while netting a better, younger replacement. You can swap out Thompson for John Henson and the deal also makes sense.
The Rockets get their guy in Covington.
The Wolves stockpile more draft picks.
I think it will take a lot for Capela to get moved before Thursday’s trade deadline. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The ultimate goal for the Rockets is to land Covington or Iguodala, and neither will come to Houston unless a third Eastern Conference team is involved.
Three-team deals are always far more difficult than two-team deals, especially at the Trade Deadline.
However, Daryl Morey has proven time and time again how creative he can be when it comes to deals and this is not the most precarious position we have seen him in.
Expect him to throw everything at a wall and hope something sticks. I’m sure the scenarios above are some that he has thought about, but if he hasn’t, I’m sure he will now!