Pelicans Trade For Hawks’ Clint Capela In New Proposal

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A big man is often expected to anchor a strong NBA defines. It’s a matter of function. A big man who can protect the rim makes everyone’s life easier. He’s the last line of defense. 

With that in mind, the New Orleans Pelicans defied expectations last season. This team has a strong defense – even with Jonas Valanciunas in the middle.

Consider that a testament to their strong perimeter defenders. Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III, and Dyson Daniels are all disruptive, disciplined wing defenders. Larry Nance Jr. is a combo big who can guard across positions. There is defensive talent on this roster. 

Imagine if they had a defensive anchor. The Pelicans could build the best defense in the NBA. Their front office feels the same. It’s been reported that the Pelicans would like to replace Valanciunas with a defensive-minded big man.

How about Clint Capela of the Atlanta Hawks? 

NBA Trade Proposal — New Orleans Pelicans Land Clint Capela

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Atlanta Hawks Receive: C Jonas Valanciunas, G Kira Lewis Jr., 2025 First-Round Pick (MIL via NOP) 

New Orleans Pelicans Receive: C Clint Capela 

With that said the expectations around big men are constantly changing. For a long time, they were expected to be offensive focal points. That changed – and then, it changed again. If you look around the NBA, teams are getting more open-minded about building around a big man again. 

That can look several different ways. The Denver Nuggets won an NBA title built around Nikola Jokic’s playmaking. The Philadelphia 76ers are built around Joel Embiid.

Valanciunas is a slightly more traditional floor spacer, although, unlike big men of the past, Embiid has a strong face-up game and offers a little bit of floor spacing. Sure. There’s a place for talented offensive bigs.

LATEST NBA TRADE RUMORS: Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Realistically, there’s always a place in the NBA for any NBA-caliber player. Yet, nobody is going to build their team around Valanciunas.

Should the Hawks acquire him anyway? 

Why The Atlanta Hawks Do This Deal 

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Well, the Hawks don’t do this deal for Valanciunas. With that said, he could find a place in this team’s rotation. Lineups featuring both him and Trae Young will suffer defensively.

Still, the Hawks could start Onyeka Onkongwu and run lineups featuring Valanciunas in the middle with Dejounte Murray running point while Young rests. 

It’s worth noting that Onkongwu factors heavily into the Hawks’ plans here. Capela has been blocking his path to starting minutes for some time. Here, the Hawks are opening up an opportunity for the young big before he’s due for a contract extension.

LATEST NBA TRADE RUMORS: Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

In other words, Capela is somewhat expendable to the Hawks. Still, this is about the unprotected first for Atlanta above all else. After sending the San Antonio Spurs three unprotected firsts, the Hawks are low on draft capital. Adding a pick to their collection will help them make additional moves in the future.

Should the Pelicans part with that pick? 

Why The New Orleans Pelicans Do This Deal 

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There’s nothing complicated at play here. The Pelicans want a defensive anchor. Capela is a defensive anchor, There shouldn’t be anything keeping New Orleans from having the league’s best defense following this deal. 

Sure, they’ll miss Valanciunas’ floor spacing. What can they do? The list of big men who can space the floor and defend the rim is short. Like, Myles Turner short.

Outside of the Indiana Pacers’ big man, there’s not a starting caliber big man who protects the rim while shooting threes. That’s fine. Capela still provides a type of spacing: vertical spacing. His ability to finish pick-and-rolls will still be useful to this team’s offense.

LATEST NBA TRADE RUMORS: Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Still, his ability to anchor the defense is the most important thing to New Orleans here. Capela can be their anchor. 

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