Clint Capela

Hawks Sign Clint Capela To Two-Year Extension

1:08pm: The Hawks have officially announced Capela’s extension, issuing a press release to confirm the move.

“Clint is one of the premier defensive and rebounding big men in the league. His presence in the paint and voice on defense had a tremendous impact on our success last season,” Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “He is a great teammate who leads by example and we are excited to have him as a part of our team long-term.”

11:55am: Capela will make about $20.6MM in 2023/24 and $22.3MM in ’24/25 on his new extension, tweets Marks. That works out to a base value of $42.9MM over two years, with another $4MM in total incentives, so the deal could max out at $46.9MM, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

10:52am: The Hawks and center Clint Capela have reached an agreement on a contract extension that will add two years and $46MM to his current deal, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Capela remains under contract for two years entering the 2021/22 season, so his new deal will go into effect beginning in ’23/24 and will keep him under team control for four years in total.

Capela, 27, was acquired from the Rockets by the Hawks at the 2020 trade deadline, but was unable to play at all for Atlanta that season due to a foot injury. He proved his value to the team in 2020/21 though, averaging 15.2 PPG and an NBA-leading 14.3 RPG to go along with 2.0 BPG and a .594 FG% in 63 games (30.1 MPG).

The anchor of the Hawks’ defense, Capela finished sixth in Defensive Player of the Year voting and helped lead the team to a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals with playoff series wins over the Knicks and Sixers.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN observes (via Twitter), Capela is earning base salaries of $17,103,448 and $18,206,897 in the final two years of his current deal. Since he’s eligible to earn up to 120% of his 2022/23 salary in the first year of his extension, the base salaries of his new deal would be $21.85MM and $23.6MM (an 8% raise on year one) if Atlanta offered the maximum possible amount.

However, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that the base value of the two-year extension is closer to $42MM, which indicates those numbers will come in slightly lower.

Capela’s contract also features $2MM in annual incentives, $1.5MM of which are currently considered “likely to be earned,” since he received them in 2020/21. He got a $1MM bonus for making the Conference Finals and $500K for a defensive rebounding rate above 30%, but missed out on a $500K bonus for shooting below 65% on free throws. Those annual incentives will be included in Capela’s extension as well, potentially boosting the total value of the deal by up to $4MM.

Capela will be the second Hawks player to sign an extension this summer, joining Trae Young, who inked a maximum-salary rookie scale extension at the start of free agency. Kevin Huerter remains eligible for a rookie scale extension up until October 18.

Trae Young Won’t Play In Game 5; Capela To Suit Up

6:17pm: Young “just didn’t feel comfortable enough to go tonight,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. Center Clint Capela, who was listed as questionable, will play, according to Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links).

5:46pm: Hawks star point guard Trae Young won’t play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks tonight, Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews of ESPN tweet.

Young is hopeful of playing in Game 6 in Atlanta on Saturday. Young also missed Game 4, a 110-88 Hawks victory, due to a right foot bone bruise.

He was listed as questionable to play in Game 5 but obviously the injury hasn’t healed sufficiently for Young to suit up. He was injured in Game 3 after stepping on an official’s foot.

Both teams will be missing their best player in the pivotal game of a series tied at two games apiece. Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out earlier in the day after hyperextending his left knee in Game 4.

Hawks’ Young, Capela Listed As Questionable For Game 5

Hawks guard Trae Young and center Clint Capela are listed as questionable for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

Young missed Game 4 on Tuesday with a right foot bone bruise, so the questionable tag should give Hawks fans some hope he’ll return to action in the pivotal game of the series. Atlanta’s 110-88 victory in Game 4 knotted the series at 2-2.

Capela is dealing with right eye inflammation. He caught an elbow from Bucks guard Sam Merrill in the late going, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. He contributed 15 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes during Game 4.

Additionally, Bogdan Bogdanovic is listed as probable despite right knee soreness, Spencer adds.

The Bucks are likely to be without their star. Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful after suffering a hyperextension of his left knee in Game 4. An MRI revealed no structural damage.

Hawks Notes: Young, Capela, Williams

Atlanta won Game 4 vs. the Bucks in convincing fashion on Tuesday night, even without Trae Young in the lineup. Still, to maximize their chances of winning two more games and advancing to the NBA Finals, the Hawks would love to get their leading scorer back sooner rather than later.

Head coach Nate McMillan didn’t have a concrete update for reporters this morning on Young’s status, but said after Tuesday’s game that he suspects the star guard will ultimately be a game-time decision on Thursday, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). Young is dealing with a bone bruise in his right foot.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Starting center Clint Capela, who took an elbow to the eye late in Tuesday’s win, saw the team ophthalmologist after the game and is being re-evaluated on Wednesday, according to Bontemps (Twitter link). Sources tell ESPN that there’s optimism within the organization that Capela avoided a major injury and should be available for Game 5.
  • When he was traded from the Clippers to the Hawks in March, Lou Williams felt like he was being sent from a title contender to a sixth-place team, and contemplated retirement. Three months later, he found himself taking Young’s place in the starting lineup on Tuesday and helping lead new team to a win in a huge Eastern Conference Finals game. “We’re enjoying the ride. We feel like we deserve to be here. We’ve earned the right to be here, and at the same time we’re enjoying it,” Williams said, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. “Did I look ahead and say we can be a championship contender day one? Probably not. But we’re two wins away like everybody else, and we feel good about it.”
  • For more out of Atlanta, be sure to follow our Hawks team page.

Hawks Notes: Capela, McMillan, Young, Reddish

Clint Capela felt like the Rockets gave up on him too quickly when they shipped him to the Hawks at the 2020 trade deadline, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The four-team deal came less than two years after Houston signed Capela to a five-year, $90MM contract, as the team opted to fully invest in a small-ball approach.

That decision has worked out well for Atlanta, which needed a strong rebounder and an interior presence on defense. Capela led the league in rebounding this season with 14.3 per night while averaging 2.0 blocks and shooting 59.4% from the field.

“What I like about this team is we always beat the odds,” he said. “People just don’t expect us to do it. People keep doubting us, and we just keep shocking them. In Houston, it was really a championship mentality every year, so it was almost like a must-win game, every game.”

There’s more on the Hawks:

  • Nate McMillan was hesitant to join the Hawks as an assistant under Lloyd Price because he didn’t want to be perceived as a “coach in waiting,” according to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. When McMillan took over in midseason, he made some important changes that pointed the team in the right direction, including gaining the trust of Trae Young and challenging John Collins to improve as a two-way player. McMillan also brought a new attitude to the job. “I know I’ve changed,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned is you have to adapt to a new generation of players. I’m a huge fan of Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski), and when I got the job in Indiana he sent me a message that basically said, ‘Adapt.’ He had to do that with the kids going from staying in school four years to being one-and-done, and I also had to learn to adapt.”
  • Young accepted the blame for the Hawks’ embarrassment in Game 2 against the Bucks, per Royce Young of ESPN. Coming off a 48-point performance in the opener, Young shot just 6-of-16 and committed nine turnovers. “That’s all on me,” he said. “I’ve got to be better at taking care of the ball. And do a better job of at least getting us a shot and not turning it over so much. And I’ve got to do better and I will be better next game.”
  • If there was a bright side in Friday’s blowout, it was the return of Cam Reddish after missing more than four months with right Achilles soreness, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Reddish played 17 minutes and scored 11 points. “Basically it was an opportunity to get him some minutes,” McMillan said. “… It’s really tough to throw a guy out there in a situation like he’s been put in.” 

Southeast Notes: Capela, Bogdanovic, Brooks, Carter Jr.

Hawks center Clint Capela ripped the Knicks for getting chippier ever since Atlanta asserted control in their first-round series, Andrew Lopez of ESPN relays. “I don’t know if they’re physical, but they are trying to play physical,” Capela said. “I feel like if they were really physical, I think we’d have more problems than what we have.”

Capela, who said the Hawks are coming to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday to “win this game again and send you on vacation,” also took a shot at the Knicks for being considered a team that plays hard every night. “We play hard because we’re playing the right way and we win games that way,” the Hawks’ big man said. “When you’re playing hard because that’s your last solution, I don’t take that as a ‘playing hard’ team.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Knicks have discovered how much more potent the Hawks are with Bogdan Bogdanovic in the lineup, Zach Braziller of the New York Post notes. Bogdanovic, who signed a four-year contract with Atlanta as a restricted free agent in the offseason, is averaging 15.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 3.5 APG in the first four games of the series. “What Bogey has done for us this season, we want to give him more (responsibility),” coach Nate McMillan said. “So I’ve been able to change the rotation, allow Bogey to really play with the basketball a little bit more.”
  • After the latest incident involving an unruly fan, Wizards coach Scott Brooks urged potential troublemakers to stay home, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. A fan ran onto the court in Game 4 between the Sixers and Wizards and was tackled by security. “There’s great fans in Boston and New York and Philly and D.C., Utah. But there’s some that just need to, you know what, stay home,” he said. “Your thinking is barbaric. Stay home. We don’t need you. We don’t need your dollars. Just stay home. Get away from us.” The fan will be banned from the arena and criminal charges are being pursued against him.
  • Wendell Carter Jr. brought a physical presence and energy to the Magic frontcourt after being acquired in the Nikola Vucevic trade with the Bulls, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. He averaged 11.7 PPG and 8.8 RPG in 22 games with Orlando.

Southeast Notes: Westbrook, Wizards, McMillan, Heat

It was a rough night for Russell Westbrook in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Wizards guard left the blowout loss in the fourth quarter after injuring his right ankle, then had popcorn dumped on him by fan as he limped toward the locker room. Addressing the incident after the game, Westbrook called on the NBA to better protect its players with fans now permitted back in arenas, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes.

“To be completely honest, this s–t is getting out of hand, especially for me. The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f–k they want to do — it’s just out of pocket,” Westbrook said. “There are certain things that cross the line. Any other setting … a guy were to come up on the street and pour popcorn on my head, you know what happens. … In these arenas, you got to start protecting the players. We’ll see what the NBA does.”

The Sixers announced today in a press release that the fan who poured popcorn on Westbrook has had his season ticket membership revoked and will be banned indefinitely from attending events at Wells Fargo Center. While that’s a good first step, it’ll be interesting to see if the league takes any further action.

LeBron James (via Twitter) echoed Westbrook’s call for the NBA to protect its players, and the incident in Philadelphia isn’t the only one involving fans this week. A Knick fan appeared to spit on Hawks guard Trae Young on Wednesday (link via Bleacher Report), and Jason Quick of The Athletic notes (via Twitter) that multiple Trail Blazers players took issue with some Nuggets fans as the team was leaving the court in Game 2.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Westbrook’s impressive play in the second half of the season was crucial in propelling the Wizards into the playoffs, but the team will need more from him in this series in order to have a chance at upsetting Philadelphia, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. First and foremost, the Wizards will need Westbrook healthy — his status remain up in the air after Wednesday’s ankle injury.
  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan found his rotation decisions under the spotlight following Wednesday’s loss, but he said he was happy with his game plan, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. “Our starters played 35-plus minutes. That’s a lot of minutes for those guys,” McMillan said. “Trae plays 35. Bogi (Bogdan Bogdanovic) plays 35. Clint (Capela) is at 36. That’s a lot of minutes for starters. … I thought we got a little gassed in that first half. I think we have to give those guys a little breather. They’re not going to be able to play 40-48 minutes.”
  • Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley was aware that his club probably needed more firepower to have a chance to return to the NBA Finals this year, says Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. However, Riley was unable to land Kyle Lowry at the deadline and his acquisition of Victor Oladipo didn’t work out, which could contribute to an early postseason exit for the defending Eastern champs.
  • With the Heat trailing the Bucks 2-0, Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald explore whether a frontcourt pairing of Bam Adebayo and second-half addition Dewayne Dedmon might be a viable solution to counter Milwaukee’s size.

Hawks Notes: Capela, McMillan, Huerter, Arena Capacity

Clint Capela is in a new position as he prepares for his first playoff series with the Hawks, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Capela was always one of the younger guys with the Rockets, who reached the playoffs every season he was in Houston. Now at age 27, he is serving as a mentor to Atlanta’s younger players, many of whom are about to have their first playoff experience.

“I really feel like (I’m in) a new role here, that vet role,” said Capela, who was traded to the Hawks at the 2020 deadline, but didn’t get to suit up before the pandemic hit. “So I get to share my experience, and I really feel (listened to) about everything I say. It’s really fun to be part of it.”

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Coach Nate McMillan insists comments he made this week that drew a $25K fine from the league were “taken out of context,” according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. McMillan seemed to indicate he was concerned the Hawks wouldn’t get a fair shake from the officials in the first-round series against the Knicks because the NBA benefits from having New York in the playoffs. “My intentions were never to suggest any type of bias as it relates to the league and our upcoming playoff series,” McMillan explained. “This type of narrative does not in any way represent me and what I stand for as coach of the Atlanta Hawks.”
  • There is “strong momentum” toward McMillan receiving a long-term contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). No negotiations have taken place yet, Charania adds, but they’re expected to happen after Atlanta’s playoff run ends. McMillan was 27-11 after taking over for Lloyd Price at the start of March, and the Hawks climbed from 10th to fifth place in the East.
  • The Knicks won all three regular season matchups with Atlanta, but Hawks forward Kevin Huerter welcomes the opportunity to face them in the first round, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “We feel really good about ourselves,” Huerter said. “They beat us three times this year, but all three games we could have won. We like the matchup and are ready for the challenge.’’
  • The Hawks will increase seating at State Farm Arena to nearly full capacity for the playoffs, Spencer adds in a separate story. There will be sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans.

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Haslem, Capela, Wizards

Within the last two years, the Magic‘s medical staff has been tasked with helping Chuma Okeke, Jonathan Isaac, and Markelle Fultz rehab from ACL tears. As the player who suffered his injury most recently, Fultz is reassured by observing how the club’s staff has handled his teammates’ recoveries, he tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

“Seeing what my (team’s) medical staff has done with people who had ACL injuries, I know they have some experience with that,” Fultz said. “That also gives me a little bit of confidence going into it, and I have a little bit of a blueprint to see how it goes and how it feels. I have people to ask questions that are my peers, somebody who I can relate to, which also gives me a boost of confidence going into it knowing that they’ve come back stronger and better.”

Although Fultz won’t get back on the court until the 2021/22 season, he said his knee “feels amazing,” and he told Robbins that he can’t wait to suit up again for a Magic team that has shifted into rebuilding mode.

“It just puts another chip on my shoulder again, to come back and play for this organization and the city, and just give it my all,” the former No. 1 pick said. “(I want to) just show them the love that I have for the city and how thankful I am for the opportunities that they’ve given me.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In what has become an annual tradition, Heat center Udonis Haslem said this week that he’s unsure whether or not he’ll play another year and that he plans to make that decision sometime after the season (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). The big man, who will turn 41 next month, has signed one-year contracts with Miami for five consecutive years.
  • As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Hawks center Clint Capela passed the 1,757-minute threshold on Wednesday, making him eligible to earn a $500K bonus based on defensive rebound percentage. Capela needs that number to be higher than 30% to receive his bonus — it’s currently a league-best 34.4%, per Basketball-Reference.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington contends that a handful of GM Tommy Sheppard‘s roster moves – including drafting Rui Hachimura, trading for Russell Westbrook, and acquiring Daniel Gafford – have the Wizards on a positive trajectory.

Hawks Notes: McMillan, Young, Capela, Shooting

After starting the season with a 14-20 record, the Hawks have gone 22-10 since Nate McMillan took over as the team’s head coach. The role McMillan has played in turning around Atlanta’s season hasn’t been lost on leading scorer Trae Young, who appeared on Adrian Wojnarowski’s Woj Pod this week and praised the Hawks’ head coach for “connecting with the players.”

Asked about McMillan’s potential future with the team, Young said he’d be surprised if the interim coach isn’t retained beyond 2020/21.

“I couldn’t see a scenario where he’s not back with us,” Young said. “The way we’re winning right now. If we go into the playoffs and do really well, it’s hard to see him not back next year. At the end of the day it’s not up to me, but as a player, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be back.”

While Young is right that the decision won’t ultimately be up to him, Hawks management will likely take the All-Star guard’s opinion into account when they determine what’s next for McMillan, who looks like a pretty safe bet to have his interim label removed.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • In an in-depth profile, Zach Lowe of ESPN examines the growth of Hawks center Clint Capela, who has gone from a rookie the Rockets initially viewed as a draft-and-stash prospect to the anchor of Atlanta’s defense and a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
  • Within his story on Capela, Lowe cites sources who say the Hawks discussed the possibility of trading for Andre Drummond and Steven Adams before ultimately acquiring Capela from Houston a year ago. Atlanta believed that elements of Capela’s pick-and-roll game with James Harden would work for Trae Young, Lowe notes.
  • After finishing dead-last in three-point percentage a year ago, the Hawks prioritized shooting in the offseason when they signed Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari to lucrative multiyear deals, and those moves have helped make the Hawks a playoff team, writes Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bogdanovic (42.0% on threes) and Gallinari (41.6%) have been two of the club’s most reliable marksmen in 2020/21.