Report: Clint Capela Traded to Hawks in 4-Team Blockbuster

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2020

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Denver. The Rockets won 109-99. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets reached an agreement Tuesday to trade center Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a four-team deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski:

Houston is receiving Wolves forward Robert Covington in the deal, per Wojnarowski. The Rockets are also trading center Nene Hilario to the Hawks, and Gerald Green and a first-round pick to Denver.

Wojnarowski added the following note on Green: "Green will waive his right to veto being included in this deal, a source told ESPN's Tim MacMahon. Green has that right due to the one-year Bird restriction, but he's out for the year due to a broken foot. He's expected to be waived and continue his rehab."

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported on a few more pieces in the deal as it pertains to the Timberwolves:

Capela put together a strong 2018-19 season for the Rockets. He averaged a career-best 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds—which ranked fifth in the NBA—and 1.5 blocks across 67 regular-season appearances. The 25-year-old ranked eighth among centers in player efficiency rating and 17th at the position in ESPN's real plus-minus.

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He's averaging 13.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 39 games during the current season.

Capela's rise from little-used reserve into one of the league's top post players is even more impressive because of his difficult upbringing.

In March, he created the CC15 Foundation to benefit low-income, single-parent families. He told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he never dreamed of playing in the NBA while growing up, including time spent in a foster home because his mom couldn't care of three kids and wanted him to get an education:

"My dream from six to 13 was just to go home with my mom like a regular kid. I remember, that was my wish. On my birthdays, they were telling us to make a wish. That was my wish, to just go home and live like a normal kid with my mom. To be here, no. No way.

"I wasn't thinking about basketball. If you told me this would happen, I would have been like, 'no way.' That wasn't in my thoughts. I was just thinking about being a normal kid, to go home after school, have a home, have time with my mom, just be a regular person. I was around a lot of bad influence. There were a lot of fights. I really had to battle. All those kids, my friends, were just thinking about being normal."

Now he's a double-double machine with 45 last season (67 percent of his games), which makes the Rockets' decision to trade him a surprise, especially with three years left on his contract.

Ultimately, the Rockets have found success in recent weeks by using extreme small-ball lineups, which likely played a role in the front office's decision to move its most talented post player.

Capela should slot in as the starting center in Atlanta as the front office continues to build the roster around All-Star point guard Trae Young.