Clint Capela

Kings Plan To Make Offer To Al Horford

12:18pm: Horford has “very real interest” in joining the Sixers if they can make it possible, Amick tweets. Philadelphia is reportedly willing to facilitate a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, but has Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick to address as well. The Kings have a better chance at signing Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon, Amick adds, and are among the teams willing to take on Clint Capela if the Rockets trade for Butler (Twitter link). Houston has found multiple teams interested in Capela and will send him to the highest bidder.

11:58pm: The Kings are ready to pounce on Al Horford with a significant offer once free agency begins, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Sacramento has the cap room to offer the rumored four-year deal in excess of $100MM, and a source tells Stein that the organization “definitely” has strong interest in Horford.

That report is confirmed by James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link), who adds that the Kings consider Horford a “major target.” However, a source tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that team officials expect him to sign with someone else (Twitter link).

Sacramento is looking for an upgrade at center over Willie Cauley-Stein, and Horford definitely qualifies. He has put up solid numbers for more than a decade in both Atlanta and Boston, earning five All-Star appearances, and is the mobile, floor-stretching style of big man that the Kings want to add.

Horford had been considered likely to stay with the Celtics, either by opting into a $30.1MM salary for next season or negotiating a longer deal with the team. However, he surprised the league two weeks ago by opting out and indicating that another team waiting with a massive contract.

Free Agency Notes: Mirotic, Kanter, Knicks

Nikola Mirotic helped kick off free agency weekend by opting to play in Barcelona next season. It’s a surprising development considering he was a coveted free agent.

The Jazz had their eye on Mirotic and had “major interest” in trying to sign him to a three-year deal in the $45MM range, Marc Stein of The New York Times hears (Twitter link). The market for stretch fours is even thinner now after Mirotic’s decision.

Let’s take a look at more free agency notes from around the league:

  • The Clippers have interest in Enes Kanter, Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard reports (Twitter link). Broussard also confirms that the Celtics and Lakers are eyeing the center, as was previously reported.
  • There’s been no indication that the Celtics are still pursuing Clint Capela, whether it be a Rockets‘ sign-and-trade involving Jimmy Butler or any scenario, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets. Capela had previously been linked to Boston.
  • The Knicks will not extend a qualifying offer to Isaiah Hicks, Ian Begley of tweets. Hicks was on a two-way contract last season.
  • New York has interest in George Hill and Wayne Ellington, Begley relays in a full-length piece. Both veterans will be targets regardless of whether the Knicks land any stars in free agency.

Rockets Believe They Have Taker For Capela; Trade Would Hinge On Acquiring Butler

The Rockets believe they have a trade partner lined up for a potential deal involving Clint Capela, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter).

However, as Stein explains, the Rockets don’t intend to move forward with a Capela trade unless they’re sure they can acquire Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers. Butler has been identified over the last couple weeks as Houston’s top offseason target.

As we detailed last night in our preview of the Rockets’ offseason, the obstacles in the way of the Rockets acquiring Butler in a sign-and-trade are numerous, but not technically insurmountable. As part of a sign-and-trade for Butler, Houston would likely need to move both Capela and Eric Gordon.

It’s possible that Gordon would appeal to Philadelphia, especially if the 76ers are unsure about their odds of re-signing J.J. Redick. But Capela would almost certainly have to be re-routed to a third team, both to satisfy base year compensation rules and because he’s not a fit for the Sixers. So if there’s a suitor out there for Capela, as Stein suggests, that team would likely be brought into a three-way trade involving Houston and Philadelphia.

Until we have a better sense of what Butler wants, this whole arrangement looks tenuous, but it’s worth noting that the Rockets are said to be very confident in their ability to acquire the standout wing. If they weren’t confident, it’s unlikely that they’d let these talks involving Capela become so public — if they can’t acquire Butler and want to bring back Capela, it would put the big man would be in a tough spot, since he’d be aware that his team was ready to trade him if another player had wanted to come to Houston.

Latest On Rockets’ Pursuit Of Jimmy Butler

With the Rockets hoping to sell Jimmy Butler and the Sixers on agreeing to a sign-and-trade scenario that would send the standout wing to Houston, the Rockets are offering Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker to teams with cap room, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski explains, Capela, Gordon, and Tucker are being offered individually to potential trade partners, as the Rockets search for the best first-round pick they can get for one of those players. The idea would be to redirect that pick to Philadelphia in a potential sign-and-trade for Butler, Woj adds.

Despite the Rockets’ efforts, the Sixers have privately been expressing confidence that they’ll be able to re-sign both Butler and Tobias Harris in free agency, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter). Philadelphia holds both players’ Bird rights, giving the club the ability to offer more years and more money to each player than any other team will be able to.

While losing Butler won’t be the Sixers’ first choice, there’s reason to believe they might be amenable to working out a sign-and-trade if he decides to leave. If the Rockets were to offer, say, Gordon or Tucker along with a first-round pick, the Sixers could acquire a potential starter on an affordable contract along with another asset for a future deal, and would still have cap room left over. That might be preferable to losing Butler for nothing, especially if the 76ers don’t have other specific free agent targets lined up for their cap space.

The Rockets will face many obstacles en route to acquiring Butler though. They’d almost certainly to have to bring in a third team in order to meet salary-matching requirements, and would risk losing all three of Capela, Gordon, and Tucker to make a deal happen (due in part to a subsequent hard cap).

Rockets To Pursue Sign-And-Trade For Jimmy Butler

The Rockets‘ top priority this offseason will be to recruit Jimmy Butler via sign-and-trade to Houston, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of

The Rockets are unlikely to carve out enough cap room to sign Butler outright, so a sign-and-trade is the most feasible option to bring the four-time All-Star to Texas, as Wojnarowski details. In that scenario, Philadelphia would receive players back as opposed to losing Butler for nothing had he signed with a team with cap room.

Clint Capela and Eric Gordon would likely leave Houston in a potential sign-and-trade with a third team possibly getting involved due to Base Year Compensation rules, Woj writes. Of the two, Gordon would be the better fit for Philadelphia, particularly if the team believes J.J. Redick may depart in free agency.

We recently detailed some of the roadblocks standing in the way of a potential Butler acquisition by the Rockets after The Houston Chronicle first reported that the team would pursue the standout swingman.

[RELATED: Why NBA Sign-And-Trades Are Rare]

Butler could receive a four-year, max deal from Houston worth roughly $141MM. The Sixers plan to be aggressive in their attempts to retain Butler and the franchise could offer him the full five-year, $190M max deal at the start of free agency to trump any rival offer.

Houston previously pursued Butler when he was in Minnesota. The franchise reportedly offered four first-round picks in exchange for the wing.

Western Notes: Rockets, No. 4, Davis, Holiday

Houston intends to aggressively pursue Jimmy Butler in free agency and Kelly Iko of The Athletic hears that the Rockets will be just as determined to land Butler now as they were in prior to Minnesota dealing him to the Sixers. GM Daryl Morey reportedly offered four first-round picks in exchange for Butler during the season.

It’s no secret that the Rockets are looking to shake up their roster this offseason. They continue to discuss trades involving Clint Capela, and Iko hears that they’ve discussed sending him to the Pelicans for the No. 4 overall pick. In that scenario, Houston would look to insert that pick into a package in order to land another player.

Here’s more from Houston and rest of the Western Conference:

  • The Rockets had interested in trading for Anthony Davis and reached out to the Pelicans prior to New Orleans making the deal with the Lakers. Houston was aware that it wasn’t high on Davis’ preferences and that a trade was not likely to happen.
  • The Lakers could have asked Davis if he’d waive his trade bonus of roughly $4.1MM in order to make salary-matching easier, but they never broached it during negotiations, league sources tell Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. Los Angeles is still attempting to maximize its cap room for an additional star after agreeing to the Davis deal.
  • Several NBA executives are skeptical that the Lakers can build a title-winning team around Davis and LeBron James after the haul they just gave up, Beck relays in the same piece. “[The] Lakers overpaid by a significant margin, given the conditions,” one executive said, adding, “Never let your GM be in a spot where he needs to make a trade to save his job.” 
  • The Suns are not interested in Aaron Holiday, Phoenix-based radio host John Gambadoro tweets. J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star identified the Suns as one of a handful of teams that has interest in acquiring the Pacers point guard, mentioning the Timberwolves, Bulls, and Hawks as well.

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.