Even though it took nearly a month for the Rockets to re-sign Clint Capela, teammate Chris Paul said he was never concerned about losing the team’s starting center, relays Ashish Mathur of AmicoHoops.
Paul made the remarks in a recent interview on NBA TV, saying that although there was speculation Capela might sign elsewhere, he knew that conditions favored a return to Houston.
“It was good and well, but I mean I guess for the fans in the basketball world they probably don’t understand, we knew he wasn’t going nowhere,” Paul said. “You know what I mean? Like if you think about it, he was a restricted free agent. Clint wasn’t going nowhere.”
The Rockets could have matched any offer that Capela received, but none ever materialized. There was a feeling around the league that Houston was a lock to match anything short of a max contract, and two potential bidders filled their needs at center when the Suns drafted Deandre Ayton and the Mavericks signed DeAndre Jordan.
Capela could have opted to accept the Rockets’ qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but the parties were able to agree to a five-year, $90MM contract on July 27.
Capela is coming off his best statistical season, averaging 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds in 74 games. Not only is he the anchor of the Rockets’ interior defense, he provides a perfect pick-and-roll partner for Paul and league MVP James Harden.