Clint Capela

Southeast Notes: Carter, Magic, Hornets, Capela

Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is relieved that the injury he suffered on December 17 against Miami wasn’t worse, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Carter exited the game in a wheelchair after experiencing leg pain, but an MRI revealed that he suffered a lower right leg muscle strain.

“I was just scared that it was going to be something that was going to take me a while to come back from,” Carter said. “To hear the news that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was was good. They told me to take it day by day and continue to get treatment on it.”

Carter missed six days and returned this past Thursday against New Orleans. He played just under 30 minutes in the contest, recording 17 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. He also registered a plus-11 net rating in the six-point loss.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • In a separate article for the Orlando Sentinel, Khobi Price examines the good and bad of the Magic‘s season so far. The team, which is currently missing several players due to injuries and health and safety protocols, owns the second-worst record in the league at 7-27.
  • Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer asked experts and officials around the NBA for their input on the Hornets, who rank eighth in the East at 17-17. Charlotte has played 22 games on the road (9-13) and just 12 games at home (8-4) this season.
  • Hawks center Clint Capela discussed a variety of subjects with The Athletic’s Kelly Iko, including his post-Rockets career and playing with Atlanta. Capela has been one of the better centers in the East since joining the Hawks, averaging 11.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game so far this season.

Hawks Sign Cat Barber, Malik Ellison To 10-Day Deals

8:13am: The Hawks have issued a press release confirming the signing of Barber and announcing that they’ve also signed guard Malik Ellison to a 10-day deal using a hardship exception.

Ellison, the son of former No. 1 overall pick Pervis Ellison, is another call-up from the College Park Skyhawks. He averaged 10.5 PPG and 4.9 RPG with a .505/.423/.640 shooting line in 14 games (29.7 MPG) for Atlanta’s G League team this season. The 6’6″ guard went undrafted out of Hartford in 2020 and played in the Czech Republic last season.

7:28am: The Hawks will promote guard Cat Barber from their G League affiliate and sign him to a 10-day contract via a hardship exception, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As we detailed on Friday, Atlanta was required to sign another replacement after having more players – Onyeka Okongwu and Wesley Iwundu – enter the health and safety protocols. The team had previously signed Lance Stephenson, Malcolm Hill, and Iwundu via hardship exceptions.

Barber, 27, will have an opportunity to make his NBA debut more than five years after he went undrafted out of NC State in 2016. Since then, he has played for a series of international and G League clubs, most recently joining Atlanta’s affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks. In 14 NBAGL games this season, he had averaged 13.4 PPG, 5.6 APG, and 4.1 RPG on .449/.387/.767 shooting in 26.4 minutes per contest.

While Atlanta’s roster has been hit hard by positive COVID-19 tests as of late, the team did get some good news on Saturday — big man Clint Capela has exited the protocols and will play in the Christmas Day game vs. the Knicks, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

The Hawks still have eight players in the protocols, including Trae Young.

Caldwell-Pope, Gallinari, Capela, Others Enter Protocols

Wizards wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Washington had been one of 10 teams that didn’t currently have any players in the protocols, but that’s no longer the case.

According to Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr., Caldwell-Pope returned a positive COVID-19 test on Monday evening (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). He’ll be sidelined for 10 days or until he can return consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari and center Clint Capela been placed in the health and safety protocols, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). An earlier report stated that two Atlanta players were entering the protocols today — now we know that Gallinari and Capela are those two players.
  • Lakers center Dwight Howard and guard Talen Horton-Tucker have exited the health and safety protocols, the team announced today (Twitter link via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). That doesn’t necessarily mean that both players have been cleared to return to action, but they’re able to rejoin the team for practices and should be available soon.
  • Bulls two-way guard Devon Dotson is now in the health and safety protocols, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). Chicago has had some players return since the team’s initial COVID-19 outbreak, but still has five other players in the protocols in addition to Dotson.
  • Kings two-way center Neemias Queta is the latest Sacramento player to enter the COVID-19 protocols, tweets Wojnarowski. The club now has seven players in the protocols.
  • The NBA has told the 10 teams scheduled to play on December 25 that some of their games could be shifted to new times if any Christmas Day contests have to be postponed, tweets Wojnarowski. As Woj explains, the league is prioritizing the 2:30pm ET, 5:00pm, and 8:00pm windows, so if one of those games is postponed, either the early or late game would likely be moved.

Eastern Notes: Griffin, Bembry, Fultz, Capela, Bogdanovic

Nets big man Blake Griffin has seen his role shrink with the impressive play of LaMarcus Aldridge, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Griffin started last season and in Brooklyn’s first 18 games this year, but he was replaced by Aldridge against the Celtics on Wednesday.

In addition to losing his starting spot, Griffin also didn’t receive minutes off the bench. Head coach Steve Nash opted to play James Johnson and Paul Millsap instead, and the duo helped the Nets secure a 123-104 road victory.

“We just need to look at different things,” Nash said. “I think it picked up our pace. [Aldridge is] not the fastest guy on the floor, but we played with pace. We played with ideas. We weren’t stagnant. We moved the ball. I thought we defended well. 

“Overall, the spirit was really good. That’s what we’ve been asking from this group is to have a great spirit and pick each other up and push for more, get better.” 

There’s more from the Eastern Conference today:

  • Nets swingman DeAndre’ Bembry is showing the team he deserves more minutes, Mark Sanchez of the New York Post opines. In 18 games this season, Bembry is averaging 5.1 points in 18.6 minutes per contest, shooting 41% from three-point range. He has failed to exceed 30% from deep in each of his last three seasons.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz discussed a variety of topics with former NBA player Etan Thomas on’s The Rematch (podcast link), including his injuries, love of the game and facing adversity. Fultz has yet to play this season as he rehabs from a torn ACL.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines the close connection between Hawks players Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela. Bogdanovic and Capela have been teammates for two seasons, but, as Kirschner details, their relationship extends past basketball.

Southeast Notes: Oubre, Butler, Unseld, Capela

A few months before he reached free agency earlier this year, Kelly Oubre strongly suggested that he wanted to be a starter, telling reporters, “I can offer a lot more than coming off the bench.” However, he has been willing to accept a bench role with the Hornets so far, having started just five of 13 games for the team to open the season. On Wednesday, his reserve role put him in position for a historic performance — his 37 points off the bench represented a new franchise record for most points in a game by a non-starter, per Sam Perley of

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • As first reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Heat star Jimmy Butler will miss Thursday’s game vs. the Clippers due to his right ankle sprain. It remains unclear whether the injury will keep Butler out of action for multiple contests.
  • Count Montrezl Harrell among those who believe the Wizards hit a home run by hiring Wes Unseld Jr. as their new head coach this offseason. “I think it was just a great job picking the right head coach, man,” Harrell said, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. “As you can see, it’s resulted in our play.” Washington is tied for the East’s best record at 8-3 and the team has the fourth-best defensive rating in the NBA.
  • One reason for the Hawks‘ slow start to this season has been Clint Capela‘s inability to be the sort of two-way impact player he was last season, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Capela tells Kirschner that he’s still working his way back to 100% after dealing with a lingering Achilles issue. The veteran center was limited during training camp and head coach Nate McMillan doesn’t believe his conditioning is where it would be if he had been fully healthy. “The fact that he didn’t really start running until he got to training camp set him back,” McMillan said. “He’s now trying to play himself into game shape with the season starting.”

Hawks Notes: Huerter, Okongwu, Bogdanovic, Hunter, Capela, Collins, Hill

The Hawks are engaged in extension talks with Kevin Huerter, and coach Nate McMillan hopes an agreement can be reached before next month’s deadline, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Speaking at Media Day, McMillan said the Hawks are “crossing their fingers” that a new deal will happen and the team is laying a foundation by signing core players to long-term contracts this offseason.

Huerter also expressed hope, telling Spencer, “We’re still working. It’s something we’ve kind of worked through throughout the summer. Mostly I let my agent and (general manager Travis Schlenk) handle (it). Obviously I hope to get something done, but there’s no guarantees.” (Twitter link).

Huerter continues to rehab from offseason ankle surgery, and said he’s “95% healthy” heading into the start of training camp (Twitter link).

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Onyeka Okongwu tells Spencer that he hopes to be ready to play in December (Twitter link). The second-year center underwent surgery in July to fix a torn labrum in his right shoulder and was given a six-month timetable for recovery.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter and Clint Capela entered the offseason with health concerns, but McMillan expects them all to be ready for the October 21 season opener, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. However, McMillan doesn’t plan for them to see much playing time in the team’s four preseason games. Bogdanovic experienced soreness in his right knee during last season’s playoffs, but recently said he feels completely healthy. Hunter had surgery on his right knee in June, while Capela had to get a PRP injection in his Achilles tendon. He told reporters that he played through an Achilles injury last season (Twitter link).
  • Re-signing restricted free agent John Collins was an offseason priority in Atlanta, but he revealed today that he never talked with any other teams, Kirschner adds (Twitter link). Collins reached a five-year, $125MM deal to stay with the Hawks.
  • Veteran forward Solomon Hill said his close relationship with McMillan influenced his decision to re-sign with Atlanta (Twitter link). “I knew this is where I wanted to be,” Hill said.

Hawks Notes: Huerter, Hunter, Bogdanovic, Capela, Vaccinations

Extension talks are ongoing between the Hawks and Kevin Huerter, but president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk isn’t sure if anything will get signed, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes.

“As I’ve said all along, we’re hopeful to get something done with Kevin long-term, but if we don’t, that’s OK too,” Schlenk said. “As we saw last year with John (Collins), that certainly doesn’t mean that we’re not going to work hard next year in free agency to try to get Kevin wrapped up long-term. These things are kind of hard to predict how things will go. They’re kind of hard to do.”

If no agreement is reached, Huerter will be a restricted free agent next summer.

We have more on the Hawks:

  • De’Andre Hunter won’t be a full participant in camp, according to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The teams expects him to be ready when the season begins. Hunter underwent right knee surgery in June. Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who also dealt with knee injuries last season, are also expected to a full go by the regular season. Clint Capela had a PRP injection in his Achilles tendon, and he’ll gradually ramp up activity during camp, Spencer adds.
  • The Hawks will be fully vaccinated by the start of the season, Spencer writes. One player still has to receive his second dose, but that will be done by opening night. All staff members have been vaccinated.
  • In case you missed it, Jahlil Okafor has signed a non-guaranteed contract with Atlanta. Get the details here.

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.