Clint Capela

Southwest Rumors: Rockets, George, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Sharpe, Doncic

The Rockets are among the teams with interest in Paul George if he can’t work out an extension with the Clippers this week, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Even though Houston is considered an unlikely destination for George, it’s an indication that the team is engaged in “big game hunting” ahead of the draft and free agency, Scotto adds.

He also hears that Rockets general manager Rafael Stone has been involved in exploratory conversations about dealing the No. 3 pick for a “win-now player upgrade” and possibly moving down in the draft.

For Houston to land George, he would have to exercise his $48.8MM player option for next season and request a trade. The organization has six recent first-round picks on its roster, along with the rights to Brooklyn’s first-rounders over the next three years.

Scotto notes that even if the Rockets don’t acquire George, they have plenty of flexibility for a major move, holding team options on Jeff Green ($8MM) and Jae’Sean Tate ($7.57MM), along with an $8MM non-guaranteed salary for Jock Landale. Houston is expected to hang onto all three of those players through their various option/guarantee deadlines, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required), who also reports that the team is open to re-signing free agent guard Aaron Holiday.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • With Jonas Valanciunas considered likely to leave in free agency, the Pelicans are willing to trade the 21st pick in this year’s draft for center help, sources tell Scotto. Along with New Orleans, NBA executives consider the Grizzlies and Thunder to be possible destinations for Hawks center Clint Capela, Scotto adds. If the Pelicans keep their pick, Scotto sees Baylor center Yves Missi as a potential selection, comparing him to Capela as an athletic big man who should thrive in the pick and roll. Scotto also hears that the organization will target another former head coach for Willie Green’s staff if it loses associate head coach James Borrego.
  • The Grizzlies have renewed their interest in Nets backup center Day’Ron Sharpe after holding talks with Brooklyn at the trade deadline, Scotto states. He adds that Memphis considered making an offer for forward Dorian Finney-Smith before the Nets acquired him at the 2023 deadline. In his aggregate mock draft, Scotto suggests the Grizzlies might take Tennessee shooting specialist Dalton Knecht as a potential replacement for Luke Kennard, who has a $14.8MM team option for next season and is considered a possible trade candidate.
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic has joined the Slovenian national team and plans to participate in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament July 2-7 in Greece, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Brook Lopez, Mitchell Robinson Among Centers On Trade Block

Bucks veteran Brook Lopez and Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson are among the prominent centers who are available for trade this offseason, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer hears from sources who say Clint Capela (Hawks), Walker Kessler (Jazz) and Isaiah Stewart (Pistons) are other big men names to watch on the trade market.

According to Fischer, Milwaukee is open to roster changes and has been gauging Lopez’s market value. The 36-year-old will earn $23MM in 2024/25, which is the final season of his contract. League sources tell Fischer the Rockets warned Lopez when they pursued him last summer that returning to the Bucks could eventually lead to him being traded.

While the Alex Caruso trade wouldn’t preclude the Thunder from making a run at Isaiah Hartenstein, they seem far more focused on finding a “situational reserve” center instead of a signing a starting-caliber big man like Hartenstein, per Fischer. As of now, the Knicks seem to be in the driver’s seat to re-sign the 26-year-old, Fischer writes — that’s why New York has been discussing Robinson deals.

Ian Begley of has also heard Robinson has popped up in trade talks (Twitter link). Begley believes the Knicks aren’t “fully committed” to dealing Robinson, but they view his contract — he’ll make $27.3MM over the next two seasons — as a valuable trade chip.

As cap expert Yossi Gozlan observes (via Twitter), moving off Robinson’s salary would give New York more financial flexibility this offseason, perhaps to re-sign Precious Achiuwa and OG Anunoby. If the Knicks make no other cost-cutting moves, they would project to be well over the second tax apron if they bring back all their key free agents.

Capela, 30, is on a $22.3MM expiring contract. He has popped up in trade rumors for some time. While Fischer suggests the Hawks and Pistons been actively exploring deals for Capela and Stewart, respectively, his wording on Kessler is more speculative, writing that “rival teams believe” the Jazz are open to the possibility of moving the 22-year-old, who excelled as a rookie in ’22/23 but had an uneven second season.

Moore’s Latest: Kings, Kuzma, Bulls, Bridges, Sixers, Jones, Grizzlies, More

The Kings are expected to return to the trade market this offseason with the same assets they offered Toronto for Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby earlier in 2023/24, writes Matt Moore of Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, and draft compensation.

While Sacramento will do its best to re-sign Malik Monk, the team only holds his Early Bird rights and will be limited to offering him up to $78MM over four years. If Monk ends up getting away, the Kings will likely feel some additional pressure to make a trade to upgrade its rotation — and will have some additional financial flexibility to add salary.

The Kings will likely circle back to the Wizards to discuss Kyle Kuzma, according to Moore, who says Sacramento has also talked to the Bulls about Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso. LaVine, whose price tag is believed to be lower now than it ever has been, could become a more attractive target if Monk departs, Moore adds.

Here are a few more items of interest from Moore’s latest look at free agency and the trade market:

  • The Sixers are expected to have interest in forward Miles Bridges in free agency, according to Moore. Philadelphia would have more than enough cap room to make a competitive offer for Bridges, especially if it misses out on its top targets. Moore reports that the Hornets are “known to be” fans of Bulls restricted free agent Patrick Williams, so he could be a target for Charlotte if the team loses Bridges.
  • Veteran point guard Tyus Jones, who was a full-time starter this past season for the Wizards, is expected to seek a deal worth north of $15MM annually, two sources tell Moore. Jones is the No. 15 free agent on our top-50 list.
  • There’s an expectation that the Grizzlies will look to add multiple centers this summer, Moore writes, noting that Nets big man Day’Ron Sharpe is a name to watch for Memphis. A Grizzlies offer for Sharpe could consist of a second-round pick and one of their bench wings, Moore adds.
  • The Grizzlies are also among the teams that have expressed interest in Hawks center Clint Capela, along with the Wizards, Pelicans, and Bulls, Moore says.
  • The free agent market for Heat forward Haywood Highsmith is expected to start around the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.2MM), two team cap strategists tell Moore.

Mavericks Notes: Irving, Lively, Jones, Rotation

The Celtics were hoping Kyrie Irving would lead them to a championship when they traded for him nearly seven years ago. Instead, he went through a tumultuous journey in Boston and Brooklyn before finding happiness with a Mavericks team that’s now standing between the Celtics and an 18th banner.

Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe talked to Irving about all that went wrong during his time in Boston, which eventually led to a bitter breakup with the city. Washburn notes that Irving tended to be a loner when he played for the Celtics, but he has become more likable and more approachable since then.

“Being under the microscope in this business is a lot different for me now than probably four years ago, five years ago, because I’m able to put the big picture of life in perspective and also the game in perspective. It comes easier,” Irving said. “Then also I think the social media, sociopathic behavior. You know, your inner voice is not clear anymore when you’re downloading other voices and other opinions. That can become hard.”

The Mavericks are somewhat of a surprise Finals team after missing the playoffs last season. After Dallas traded for Irving in February 2023, his fit with Luka Doncic initially appeared awkward, but they’ve found a way to make it work. Irving appreciates the situation he’s landed in, and he believes the Mavs can be title contenders for years to come.

“At 32 right now, I just feel like the sky’s the limit,” he said. “I have an opportunity to be on a special team that can be one of the teams that dominates in this era. That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out the past few years, of how to be on a great team, be in an organization where I’m trusted, and also we’re able to succeed and fail together, and doing it in a way where we still have each other’s backs, and no one is giving up on the dream or the goal.”

There’s more on the Mavericks:

  • Dereck Lively II‘s dominance in the middle is one of the reasons the Mavericks believe they can rally from a 3-0 deficit, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Lively had seven offensive rebounds Friday night and sparked an early game-changing run with a rare three-pointer. He wound up with 11 points and 12 boards, making him the first rookie with back-to-back double-doubles in the Finals in 44 years. League sources tell Fischer that rival teams knew the Mavs were targeting Lively in last year’s draft, and they were able to work out a deal with Oklahoma City after a proposal involving Clint Capela and the Hawks fell through.
  • Shawn Marion, who was part of Dallas’ last title team in 2011, sees elements of his own game in Derrick Jones Jr., per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “He’s definitely a shuffle piece that you can put him in different places because he’s very athletic,” Marion said. “He’s mobile. And he’s tall. So he’s got the length. He’s a versatile defender.”
  • Head coach Jason Kidd made rotation changes that might help the Mavericks sustain the momentum from their Game 4 win, observes John Hollinger of The Athletic. Minutes have increased for Lively, Josh Green and Maxi Kleber while decreasing for Jaden Hardy and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Eastern Rumors: Capela, Fizdale, Bulls, Randle, Heat

Veteran Hawks center Clint Capela is expected to be on the trading block this summer, Marc Stein reports at Substack.

As Stein explains, the Swiss big man will be on an expiring $22.3MM contract in 2024/25. Atlanta won the draft lottery and gave Onyeka Okongwu a four-year rookie scale extension last offseason, so Capela could be on move, particularly if the team chooses a big man with the No. 1 overall pick.

Capela, who just turned 30 years old, averaged 11.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 1.5 BPG in 73 games last season (25.8 MPG). The 10-year veteran has averaged a double-double for seven straight seasons.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • According to Stein, before the Bulls hired Wes Unseld Jr. and Dan Craig to be the top assistants under head coach Billy Donovan, they showed interest in David Fizdale. A former head coach, Fizdale was an assistant with the Suns this past season but may be departing after Frank Vogel was fired. Phoenix reportedly offered Fizdale a front office position to stay with the team, but he has yet to accept it.
  • Rival teams are monitoring Julius Randle‘s situation with the Knicks, Shams Charania of The Athletic stated on FanDuel TV’s Run It Back (Twitter video link). Randle will be extension-eligible this summer and holds a $34.2MM player option for ’25/26, meaning he could be a free agent next year if he opts out. “How (the Knicks) handle that extension situation, if that is a conversation, what transpires, I think that will be interesting,” Charania said.
  • The Heat may have to barter this year if they want to trade their second-round pick (No. 43 overall) or acquire another one, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman details, for the upcoming ’24/25 season, teams that purchase a second-rounder with cash will be hard-capped at the first tax apron, and Miami is keenly aware of that fact. “It definitely factors in,” said Adam Simon, the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager. “And you have to look at the big picture and what business you’re doing. And, so, that’ll come into play. But doing something that’s going to hard cap you, you definitely have to take that into consideration.”

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Miller, Heat, Wizards

The Hawks fell to the Bulls in the play-in, failing to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2020 as a result. With a roster that doesn’t fit together even when healthy, Atlanta could look to go in a number of different directions this offseason. The Hawks are stuck in the middle, lacking incentive to tank due to the first-round picks they owe the Spurs as a result of acquiring Dejounte Murray and also having several talented players on the roster.

As The Athletic’s John Hollinger observes, attention will likely turn to star guard Trae Young after trade talks involving Murray didn’t pan out at the deadline this year. Speculation regarding Young’s future continues to run rampant, and teams like the Lakers and Spurs are some of the most frequently named potential destinations.

Additionally, the Hawks will have significant money tied up in the frontcourt to both Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu, prompting Hollinger to wonder whether the team will look to trade one. Atlanta’s most significant impending free agent is Saddiq Bey, who is set to be restricted this summer, but he’ll be recovering from an ACL tear.

Both Hollinger and ESPN’s Bobby Marks assert the Hawks need to pick a lane by making a significant move of some kind, whether that’s moving Young or Murray. Armed with a young core that includes extension-eligible Jalen Johnson, Kobe Bufkin, Okongwu and AJ Griffin, along with potentially two top-16 picks (if Sacramento makes the playoffs), Atlanta has the assets necessary to retool rather than fully rebuild if they so choose.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets rookie Brandon Miller had a terrific first season and while he won’t win the Rookie of the Year award (that honor will almost certainly go Victor Wembanyama), he cemented himself as a franchise cornerstone in just one year, Alex Zietlow of The Charlotte Observer writes. In 74 games, Miller averaged 17.3 points while shooting 44.0% from the field and 37.3% from three. “He can be whatever he wants to be,” teammate Seth Curry said. “I see All-NBA, perennial All-Star, possible MVP consideration in his future. All the talent, all the size, the competitive nature. I think he’s going to work on his game and add stuff every year. So I’m excited to see him grow.
  • The Heat are in the same position on Friday that they were a season ago. They hosted the Bulls in a win-or-go-home play-in tournament game for the eighth seed last season and will do so again this year, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. From Miami’s perspective, the win over Chicago jump-started a historic run that saw the Heat become the first No. 8 seed in a non-lockout season to reach the NBA Finals. However, the Bulls remember last year in a much more painful view, which could be a motivating factor against a Heat team without Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier. “I remember that plane ride back home [last year] vividly, everybody was just frustrated,” Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan said.
  • Wizards general manager Will Dawkins and president Michael Winger admitted that year one of Washington’s rebuild featured growing pains, but they saw some positive steps within the organization, The Athletic’s Josh Robbins writes. Young players like Deni Avdija, Corey Kispert and Bilal Coulibaly all showed progress from the beginning to the end of the season. “We feel very strongly that we have the right fans, that we have the right principles, that we have the right market to build a sustainably great team,” Winger said. “We set out to do that a year ago. That plan has not changed at all.
  • The Washington Post’s Ava Wallace tackles a similar topic, noting that the Wizards‘ regime is excited to dig into its first full offseason. As Wallace writes, the most significant move the team will make this season could be its head coaching hire.

Hawks’ Okongwu Out At Least Two Weeks With Toe Sprain

FEBRUARY 24: Okongwu has been placed in a walking boot and will miss at least two weeks, which is when he’ll be reevaluated, the Hawks announced in a press release.

FEBRUARY 22: Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu will be sidelined “for the foreseeable future” with a left big toe sprain, head coach Quin Snyder said on Thursday, per Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

I don’t want to speak out of turn as far as a timeline goes, but he’s not going to be available for the foreseeable future,” Synder said (Twitter link via Brad Rowland of Locked On Hawks).

Okongwu had only missed one game this season prior to last Monday’s loss to Chicago, which is when he sustained the injury. Unfortunately, it sounds like he could miss a good deal of time.

The 23-year-old played one college season at USC before being selected sixth overall by Atlanta in 2020. Okongwu is a key reserve for the Hawks, averaging 10.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 1.1 BPG on .610/.338/.800 shooting in 53 games in 2023/24 (25.8 MPG).

Snyder also said starting center Clint Capela will be back in action on Friday vs. Toronto after dealing with a left adductor strain. However, the Swiss big man will be on a minutes restriction. Capela had missed the past six games with the injury, with Feb. 3 being his last appearance.

With Okongu out, the Hawks will likely continue to lean on Jalen Johnson and Bruno Fernando for minutes at the backup five spot.

The Hawks are currently 24-31, the No. 10 seed in the East.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Langdon, Brand, Heat, Capela, Okongwu

With Mitch Kupchak shifting to an advisory role, the Hornets are seeking a lead executive with previous experience, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer reports. Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon and Sixers GM Elton Brand are considered the early frontrunners to replace Kupchak, Boone adds.

Charlotte is likely to hire both a president of basketball operations and a GM, according to Boone, who also lists Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton, Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson and Knicks assistant GM Frank Zanin as potential candidates for the lead executive job.

Bulls GM Marc Eversley is another name under consideration, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat have won four of their last six games, following a seven-game losing streak. A team meeting in late January helped to turn their fortunes, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Numerous players spoke up, as well as coach Erik Spoelstra. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” Heat swingman Duncan Robinson said of the team’s improved play. “If there’s anything I’ve learned during my time in the NBA, it’s that a big part of playing well is not necessarily about Xs and Os, but putting your own whatever sort of things you’re going through aside and just giving into the team. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
  • The Hawks’ top two centers are banged up heading into the All-Star break, according to a team press release. Clint Capela is showing progress in his rehab from a left adductor strain but he’ll be listed as out for Wednesday’s game at Charlotte. He’s expected to return to practice following the All-Star break. Onyeka Okongwu left Monday’s game against Chicago late in the fourth quarter with a left big toe injury. Okongwu underwent an MRI on Tuesday and has been diagnosed with a left big toe sprain. He’ll be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days.
  • In case you missed it, there’s an update on Miles Bridges‘ latest legal situation.

Fischer’s Latest: Pelicans, Stewart, Hawks, Olynyk, Drummond, Lakers, Nets

The Pelicans are searching for a rim protector, but they’ve had to cross at least two names off their wish list, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Sources tell Fischer that New Orleans was hoping to acquire Jarrett Allen, but the Cavaliers aren’t willing to include him in trade talks. The team also targeted Wendell Carter, but Fischer’s sources say the Magic refuse to make him available.

Fischer cites Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart as a potential alternative for the Pelicans. Detroit agreed to two deals today and may be willing to consider moving Stewart as the team reshapes its roster. Hawks centers Onyeka Okongwu and Clint Capela could also be possibilities, according to Fischer.

Fischer hears that the Pelicans and Hawks were involved in “tangible trade talks” this week involving both centers, along with guard Dejounte Murray, who’s considered one of the top names on this year’s trade market. However, sources tell Fischer that the teams haven’t been able to make any progress toward a deal.

Fischer offers more inside information on the eve of the deadline:

  • Jazz center Kelly Olynyk could be on the way to Toronto, but there are plenty of teams interested in acquiring him, whether it’s from Utah or the Raptors, according to Fischer’s sources. Fischer names the Sixers, Heat and Warriors as teams that have shown interest in Olynyk, adding that the Celtics were also on that list before today’s trade for Xavier Tillman.
  • The Tillman deal removes one suitor for Bulls center Andre Drummond, Fischer adds. The Sixers remain interested in Drummond as a short-term starter while Joel Embiid is injured, according to Fischer, who also lists the Mavericks and Suns as potential landing spots. Fischer’s sources say the Rockets and Lakers also had interest in the veteran center, but they’re considered less likely alternatives. Chicago is hoping for multiple second-round picks in exchange for Drummond, with Fischer noting that it seems like a reasonable price considering that’s what the Celtics gave Memphis for Tillman. Fischer also cautions that the Bulls are hoping to advance through the play-in tournament, so Drummond isn’t certain to be dealt.
  • The Lakers like several Brooklyn players, including Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale, Fischer adds. He also points out that the Nets have Lonnie Walker, who was popular with L.A. fans in last year’s playoffs and has attracted interest from several contenders.

Clint Capela Strains Adductor, Will Be Reassessed In 7-10 Days

Veteran Hawks starting center Clint Capela has sustained a left adductor strain, per an Atlanta press statement. The club indicates that its medical staff is set to reevaluate Capela’s health in seven-to-10 days.

Across 47 contests thus far this season, the 6’10” big man is averaging 11.5 PPG on 57.5% shooting from the field. He’s also logging 10.6 RPG, 1.5 BPG and 1.0 APG.

Capela is among a handful of well-compensated Hawks vets potentially being shopped for the squad by this Thursday’s trade deadline. He could theoretically provide significant value to a true contender’s front line, as a solid two-way, rim-rolling five.

At 22-27, Atlanta is currently the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference, and is fighting for its play-in life.

Reserve Onyeka Okongwu seems likely to step in for Capela as the Hawks’ starting center while the 29-year-old recuperates.