Clint Capela

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Rockets Plan To Keep Spending, Add Another Top Player

The Rockets are planning to keep their starting five intact and will attempt to “add a third star or a top mid-level player to our core,” GM Daryl Morey said in an ESPN Radio interview on Monday.

Reports surfaced late last month after the Rockets were eliminated by the Warriors during the conference semifinals that Morey had made available everyone on his roster with the possible exception of James Harden. Morey declared on the Golic & Wingo show that he plans to keep the core group of Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon intact while adding another impact player to the mix.

Morey says he’s been given the green light from owner Tilman Fertitta to upgrade the roster, despite major luxury tax issues. The salaries next season for the above five players alone add up to approximately $115MM.

He also believes that with significant injuries to Warriors’ stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and despite the pending trade of Anthony Davis to the Lakers, the Rockets should be considered the Western Conference’s premier team.

“We feel like we should be the favorite in the West, and we’re going to do moves to show people that we should be the favorite in the West, and that’s going to create a little tension when we do that,” Morey said. “But at the end of the day, we’re going to have at least our starting five back, which again most teams are scrambling to keep it together and we’re going to spend mid-level, we’re going to spend into the tax. We’re going to be one of the most expensive rosters, like we were last year and this year, and we’re going to be right there.”

Morey also addressed a few other issues:

  • He downplayed any disconnect between his superstar guards. An in-depth story from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon detailed the turmoil within the organization, including the tension between their two best players due to the differences in their preferred playing styles and personalities. “Two competitive superstars at that level, there’s going to be times when they are extremely competitive, extremely focused on how do we get to that next level, and when we don’t there’s going to be frustration,” Morey said.
  • He expressed optimism that the organization will reach a contract extension agreement with coach Mike D’Antoni, who is entering the final year of his deal. D’Antoni’s agent indicated a week ago that there was a lack of progress. “He’s going to be our coach next year. We’re hoping to work things out for the future right now; if we don’t, we’re going to work it out after next season,” Morey said.
  • He insisted that Paul had not asked for a trade, though his contract would be tough to move anyway. Paul has three years and approximately $124MM remaining on his deal, which includes a player option in the final season.

Kyler’s Latest: Celtics, Capela, Kyrie, Sixers, More

After reporting earlier this week that the Celtics had “engaged pretty seriously” on Rockets center Clint Capela, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has provided a few more details today. Sources tell Kyler that Boston has “expressed considerable interest” in Capela. However, he may be more of a Plan B or C for the Celtics, particularly if they’re still serious about pursuing Anthony Davis.

As Kyler details, league sources are skeptical that the Celtics will keep and use all three of their first-round picks (Nos. 14, 20, and 22). Meanwhile, Houston has been trying to get first-round prospects in for workouts despite not currently holding any draft picks — Kyler writes that the Rockets have been suggesting to agents that they have the ability to acquire a pick in the top 20.

It’s possible that the Celtics could trade one of their first-rounders to another team, and the Rockets are likely exploring deals with clubs outside of Boston. Still, it’s worth watching to see if those two teams end up getting something done on or before draft night.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • Although Kyler, like others, has heard that the Celtics are operating as if Kyrie Irving probably won’t return, he writes that the club is prepared to offer Irving a maximum-salary deal to see if he’ll turn it down.
  • There’s a sense that Philadelphia will make full maximum-salary offers to Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, per Kyler. The Sixers are making sure that their players and other teams know they’re serious about keeping their core intact, according to Kyler, who adds that there’s a belief that Butler and Harris would re-sign if the team does put those offers on the table.
  • Kyler says that the Cavaliers, Suns, Hawks, Timberwolves, Magic, Hornets, Heat, and Celtics are all viewed as candidates to trade top-20 picks in the draft, either for veteran players or to move up or down in the draft.

Celtics Eyeing Clint Capela?

Veteran center Clint Capela appears to be a prime trade candidate for the Rockets this offseason, with one report indicating that Houston was gauging the market to assess Capela’s value, while another suggested that the team was “actively” exploring potential deals involving Capela, Eric Gordon, and/or P.J. Tucker.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who identified the Celtics last month as one possible trade partner for the Rockets, tweets that – from what he has heard – Boston has “engaged pretty seriously” on Capela. Kyler cautions that things are fluid at this point in the offseason, pointing out that the Celtics may simply be doing their due diligence on possible scenarios.

Still, it’s interesting to consider how the Celtics’ potential interest in Capela might line up with the rest of their offseason plans. Al Horford and Aron Baynes have uncertain futures, as both veteran big men will have to make decisions soon on player options for the 2019/20 season — either player could, in theory, be traded if he opts in. Boston has also been linked off and on with Anthony Davis, the offseason’s biggest trade chip.

In addition to their unsettled frontcourt, the Celtics also have plenty of uncertainty at the point guard position, where both Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier will be free agents. Irving seems increasingly unlikely to return to the C’s, with Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News becoming the latest reporter to cite a source who says there’s “nobody in Boston who thinks he’s staying.”

As for Rozier, Kyler says the Celtics have had “some level” of talks with the restricted-free-agent-to-be about a new contract.

Stein’s Latest: Capela, Gordon, Tucker, Lakers, Wolves, Grizzlies

When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that the Rockets were making virtually everyone on their roster besides James Harden available in trade talks, it was presented as general manager Daryl Morey doing his due diligence and being open to all options. Morey and owner Tilman Fertitta later praised Houston’s starting five and predicted it would return intact next season.

In his latest newsletter, however, Marc Stein of The New York Times paints a different picture. According to Stein, the Rockets are “actively” exploring the trade market for possible deals involving Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and/or P.J. Tucker. One source with knowledge of the club’s thinking tells Stein that Houston is operating as if at least one of those three players won’t be on the roster next season.

Gordon, who has one year and $14MM left on his contract, and Tucker, who has about $16MM+ left over two years, may be easier for the Rockets to move than Capela, since they’re veterans capable of fitting in anywhere and wouldn’t require a long-term salary commitment. However, Capela’s four years of team control may appeal to a club that’s looking for an answer at center and hoping to avoid overpaying a free agent.

As we wait to see what Morey has up his sleeve, here are a few more minor items from Stein:

  • While the amount of years and money the Lakers were willing to offer Tyronn Lue contributed to negotiations breaking down, a disagreement over his staff was also a factor. According to Stein, general manager Rob Pelinka and advisor Kurt Rambis wanted to be able to select Lue’s assistants.
  • The Timberwolves are taking a similar approach under new head of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, according to Stein, who notes that Rosas brought back Ryan Saunders but dismissed his entire staff. Stein writes that Saunders wanted to hire Sidney Lowe as his lead assistant, but was rebuffed by management.
  • The Grizzlies, the only team still seeking a new head coach, are believed to be considering a new bench model. Memphis wants to have at least one of its assistant coaches hold a dual title that includes some personnel responsibilities, says Stein.

Southwest Notes: Barea, Ball, Davis, Capela, Conley

Point guard J.J. Barea‘s recovery from a ruptured right Achilles tendon is going well and he’s hopeful of playing for Puerto Rico in the FIBA World Cup this summer, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon tweets. The Mavericks veteran suffered the injury on January 11th and underwent surgery three days later.

“The way I feel right now, it looks pretty good,” Barea told MacMahon. “But I’m not going to make a decision until it gets closer.” Barea is doing non-contact basketball activity under the supervision of Mavericks staff members, MacMahon adds, and took 600 shots in an hour last week.

Barea, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is expected to re-sign with the Mavericks.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • While Anthony Davis‘ representatives said he still wants out after meeting last week with executive VP David Griffin, there’s no need for Griffin to rush out and trade the superstar big man, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate writes. Griffin can wait as long as February’s trade deadline to deal Davis, leaving open the possibility that the team can convince him to change his mind. If Davis remains firm, his wish is more likely to come to fruition if he’s willing to make a commitment to the trade partner, Kushner adds.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is intrigued by the possibility of a Lonzo BallJrue Holiday backcourt if Davis is dealt to the Lakers, Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune reports (hat tip to the Sporting News).
  • The Hawks, Spurs, Mavericks and Kings are possible destinations for center Clint Capela if the Rockets deal him, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype opines. The Rockets reportedly have made everyone on the roster available at the right price.
  • The Grizzlies should swap veteran point guard Mike Conley while his value remains high after he averaged a career high in points this season, Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic argues.

Rockets Notes: Gordon, Lue, MLE, Offseason

A pair of reports on Wednesday indicated that the Rockets are open to the idea of shaking up their roster this summer. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that general manager Daryl Morey is aggressively scouring the market for potential upgrades and is open to trading just about any draft pick or any player not named James Harden, including Chris Paul. Marc Stein of The New York Times followed up on that story by adding that Houston has specifically gauged Clint Capela‘s trade value.

Today, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders continues to flesh out the story, tweeting that Eric Gordon is also among the players being made available by the Rockets in trade talks. According to Kyler, Houston is looking to “change up the locker room” and may be looking to add a lottery pick. Kyler has heard teams like the Celtics, Hornets, Magic, and Mavericks linked to the Rockets as potential trade partners.

Assuming the Warriors win another title, the Rockets could convince themselves for the second straight year that they were the NBA’s second-best team, and there’s no telling whether Golden State will bring back the same roster next year. That’s an argument in favor of not doing anything too drastic this offseason. Still, Morey has long been one of the NBA’s most aggressive executives when it comes to finding upgrades and avoiding complacency, so if he can find a way to extend the Rockets’ window of contention, the team has to seriously consider it.

Here’s more out of Houston:

  • In his latest mailbag, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle takes an extended look at the shakeup on the Rockets’ coaching staff, writing that the changes stemmed from the fact that Morey “decided the Rockets could do better.” Within that same article, Feigen pushes back on a report linking Tyronn Lue to Houston. According to Feigen, the Rockets had interest in Lue last October, but didn’t make him an offer then and haven’t shown any interest in him since the season ended.
  • According to Feigen, the Rockets are preparing as if they’ll have the taxpayer mid-level exception available, rather than the full mid-level exception. Unlike last season, when Houston spread its MLE around among multiple players, the club would rather try to use its 2019/20 MLE on a player who could be considered a “significant addition,” filling out the rest of the roster with minimum-salary players or trade acquisitions, Feigen writes.
  • In case it wasn’t clear from Wednesday’s reports – or from owner Tilman Fertitta‘s previous comments about doing anything possible to improve the team – Feigen cites a source with knowledge of the Rockets’ plans who suggested this week that the club is open to making major changes to upgrade its roster. “‘Run it back’ is not what (the Rockets) do,” that source said.
  • Fertitta reiterated that message this week as well, per Feigen: “Wherever we can improve coaching or players, let’s do it. But let’s not change to change. We have to know we can improve in that position whether it’s a coach, film guy or a trainer.”

Rockets Gauge Market For Capela; CP3 Also Potentially Available

After a disappointing second-round exit to the Warriors in this year’s playoffs, general manager Daryl Morey and the Rockets are showing an aggressive desire to upgrade their roster in calls to front offices, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Wojnarowski, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where James Harden gets traded, but the Rockets are making virtually all of their players and picks available in discussions. Even someone like Chris Paul could be moved in the right deal, Woj adds.

Meanwhile, Marc Stein of The New York Times reports (via Twitter) that Clint Capela is among the players whose market value the Rockets have been gauging in recent days.

While the Rockets would be reluctant to move someone like Paul, who has been a key contributor to their success over the last two years, it’s not clear how much value he’d even have on the trade market. The veteran point guard’s numbers slipped a little in 2018/19 (his 15.6 PPG and .419 FG% were career lows), he’s entering his age-34 season, and he’s owed $124MM over the next three years.

Capela’s career résumé isn’t as decorated as Paul’s, but he may be the more valuable asset at this point due to a more team-friendly contract. Having missed out on some incentives that were considered likely this season, Capela has a cap hit below $15MM in 2019/20, and is under contract through 2022/23, his age-28 season.

Outside of Harden, Paul, and Capela, the only two Rockets players with guaranteed contracts for 2019/20 are Eric Gordon ($14MM) and P.J. Tucker ($8.35MM), both of whom are good values. Nene may also pick up his $3.8MM player option, while Isaiah Hartenstein, Gary Clark, Chris Chiozza, and Michael Frazier all have non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed minimum-salary deals.

Of course, the Rockets have never been shy about making their draft picks available in trade talks. The club reportedly offered the Timberwolves four future first-rounders last fall for Jimmy Butler, but Minnesota passed on that offer.

Even if Houston doesn’t make any huge moves this offseason, the roster figures to undergo a good deal of change. Rotation players like Iman Shumpert, Gerald Green, Austin Rivers, and Kenneth Faried will all be unrestricted free agents, while Danuel House is up for a new contract via restricted free agency.

Rockets Notes: Paul, Free Agents, Capela, Rosas

There are a lot of concerns in Houston after another season ended with a playoff loss to the Warriors, but the decline of Chris Paul may be the most serious issue, writes Sean Deveney of Sporting News. Paul missed at least 20 games for the third straight season, playing in 58, and his production declined in several important areas.

The nine-time All-Star posted career lows in scoring (15.6 PPG), shooting (41.9% from the field), free throw frequency (3.5 per game) and PER (19.7). He had difficulty finding his shot in the playoffs, making just one of his first 10 3-point attempts and shooting 27% from long distance.

Now 34, Paul just completed the first season of a four-year extension he signed last summer. He will make $38.5MM next season, $41.3MM in 2020/21 and has a $44.2MM option for 2021/22. Paul, James Harden and Clint Capela will consume 85% of the Rockets‘ cap space next season, Deveney notes, and are all under contract through the summer of 2022.

There’s more tonight from Houston:

  • Midseason acquisitions Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried and Iman Shumpert may all be headed elsewhere this summer, Deveney adds. All three will be unrestricted free agents, and the Rockets won’t have much to offer beyond their mid-level exception. Deveney sees Gerald Green, who played for the veteran’s minimum this year, as likely to return.
  • Capela’s contract could be a major issue if he can’t overcome the confidence problem that seems to plague him against the Warriors, states Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Capela is owed up to approximately $72.2MM over the next four years, and although he played well during the season, he has become a matchup problem against Golden State. “He’ll learn from this, he’ll only get better,” coach Mike D’Antoni said after the Game 6 loss. “He’s only 25, he’ll get stronger. The expectations are high for him. I think he was a little below his normal stats. Could’ve been better, but I’ll go down with guys like that.”
  • The Rockets are making some front office changes after losing executive VP Gersson Rosas to the Timberwolves, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Assistant GM Jimmy Paulis has taken Rosas’ duties of coordinating the team’s scouts, and GM Daryl Morey is looking to hire someone to fill the vacancy.

Rockets Owner Promises To Upgrade Roster

The Rockets have no plans to hit the restart button after their Game 6 flop at home against the Warriors. Owner Tilman Fertitta is intent on improving the roster to help the core group get over the hump in future playoffs, Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports.

“I’m very fortunate to have the starting five that I have, but if we can make this team better, we’re going to make this team better,” Fertitta said. “That’s just a fact. I have a great team. I love all five of my starting five, but it’s my job to make sure that we put the best team that we can put on the court next year.”

It’s one thing to say that upgrades are forthcoming. It’s another thing to pull that off when the team already has major salary cap issues. The combined salaries of James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker alone put Houston over the projected cap of $109MM for next season.

Harden isn’t going anywhere, so unless the Rockets could somehow unload Paul’s contract — he’s owed a whopping $124MM over the next three years — they’re not going to gain significant cap relief in a trade. The Rockets do have nine trade exceptions they can utilize but none are worth more than $3.62MM.

Houston’s bench is bound to look different because virtually all of its reserves become free agents or have non-guaranteed contracts for next season. The only exception is veteran big man Nene, who can exercise a $3,825,360 player option.

Both of their draft picks this June were traded away in previous deals, with the first-rounder being conveyed to the Cavaliers and the second-rounder going to the Knicks.

The only other major asset Houston will have at its disposal is the $5.7MM mid-level exception for a taxpaying team. Perhaps the Rockets can entice a quality player to sign for below-market value in order to join a contending team.

Otherwise, GM Daryl Morey will have his work cut out for him to create a deeper and more productive bench. Fertitta remains optimistic the Rockets will be champions in the near future.

“I can promise you, we’re going to win some championships with James Harden, because we are not going to sit here,” he said. “We will go to battle every year. We’re going to have a strong offseason, and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to be a better team. We are not going to sit on our hands, I can promise you that.”