Rockets Trade For Hawks’ Clint Capela In Bold Proposal

Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Houston Rockets are a proud franchise. They’ve got a storied history. The Rockets won back-to-back NBA championships in the 90s. The Yao Ming era gave us some exciting teams, and the James Harden era was tremendously successful.

This team has been good, more often than not. So, the past few years have been rough on their fanbase. The Rockets have been among the worst teams in the NBA for the last three seasons.

That was largely by design – the Rockets have been blatantly tanking. This year, the tanking is over. The Rockets spent big in free agency this summer, and now, they look like genuine playoff hopefuls. 

What is this team missing? Well, the Rockets don’t have a conventional rim protector. Alperen Sengun is gifted offensively, but that isn’t his strong suit. There isn’t a backup big on the roster who specializes in that area, either.

Could the Rockets reunite with a big man from the Harden era? Could they trade for Clint Capela of the Atlanta Hawks? 

NBA Trade Proposal: Houston Rockets Land Atlanta Hawks’ Clint Capela

Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network
Atlanta Hawks Receive: G/F Victor Oladipo, C Jock Landale, 2024 First-Round Pick (Top 10 Protected – BKN via HOU) 
Houston Rockets Receive: C Clint Capela

That said, the Rockets didn’t have to tank for three seasons. There are a lot of different philosophies about how to rebuild a team. Still, it ultimately comes down to talent.

When a team drafts a player ready to contribute early, they’re typically more inclined to pivot toward competitive basketball. 

Look at the Hawks. Trae Young was ready to win by his sophomore year. So, the Hawks started competing. They acquired veterans to support their young star guard.

To an extent, that’s been a successful strategy. The Hawks already have a Conference Finals appearance to show for their efforts during the Young era. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets Updates

Did they doom themselves to mediocrity? That feels like an overstatement. Still, it is fair to observe that the Hawks looked mediocre last year; this year, they look mediocre again. This team may want to shake things up soon.

Should they start by sending Capela to the Rockets? 

Why The Atlanta Hawks Do The Deal 

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NBA Analysis Network

If Onyeka Onkongwu wasn’t breaking out, we’d feel differently. He is. The Hawks’ younger big man has been outplaying Capela for much of this season.

Meanwhile, the team recently extended him. Onkongwu is clearly the 5 of the future, and it’s time for Atlanta to make him the 5 of the present. 

So, clearing the runway for him is part of the appeal here. So is clearing their cap sheet. Oladipo is on an expiring contract. Landale is on a long-term deal that’s looking a bit generous, but it’s not prohibitive. The Hawks would gain some financial flexibility by making this trade. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets Updates

Still, the first-round pick is the most valuable part of the deal for the Hawks. Sure, it’s top-10 protected. The Nets have a competitive team – this pick is far more likely to convey than not.

Should the Rockets really part with it? 

Why The Houston Rockets Do The Deal 

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NBA Analysis Network

It feels likely that the Rockets will trade this pick if it lands outside of the top 10 anyway. There is plenty of young talent on this roster. In all likelihood, the Rockets are done with the developmental phase of their rebuild. This team wants win-now veterans. 

Capela fits the bill. He’s exactly the type of player that Houston is currently missing. His ability to defend the rim and offer vertical spacing on offense would round this roster out. Is this a no-brainer? 

Not exactly. Capela would be an expensive backup for Sengun. The Rockets may prefer a more modest target at a smaller price. Sure. On the other hand, this team is shifting into win-now mode.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets Updates

Why not get the best player that they can? Capela would help the Rockets win games. Historically, that’s what this team does. 

About James Piercey 3864 Articles
When it comes to exploring the endless possibilities of NBA trades, there's no one quite like James Piercey. With a keen eye for player dynamics, salary cap intricacies, and a knack for discovering uncharted trade territory, James has risen to prominence as the preeminent expert in the realm of hypothetical NBA trades. James is also known for his work covering the Houston Rockets for SB Nation's The Dream Shake — a blog that gives a daily, comprehensive look at the team. He has written for various outlets, including FanSided and Last Word on Sports, among others.