Clint Capela Trade Rumors: Kings Linked to Deal If Jimmy Butler Joins Rockets

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2019

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela reacts after making a basket during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Monday, May 6, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings have some contingency plans in place as they seek to bolster the center position in free agency this summer, and one of them reportedly is Houston Rockets center Clint Capela.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, "Sacramento is one of the secured scenarios for Houston's Capela if Jimmy Butler decides to come Houston's way (the Rockets have more than one; highest bidder wins)."

However, Amick also reported that the team is eyeing up free agent center Dewayne Dedmon. And Marc Stein of the New York Times reported earlier on Sunday that the Kings "'Definitely' have significant interest in Al Horford, according to sources briefed on Sacramento's thinking—and have the cap space to pay Al the reported four-year deal worth in excess of $100 million circulating for the past week."

Amick also reported that Sacramento has "significant interest" in Horford and "plans to make a massive offer," though added that the Kings are "under the impression he's likely heading elsewhere."

But if players like Horford and Dedmon don't work out for the Kings, Capela would make a ton of sense. 

The 25-year-old center would perfectly fit the core values of "uptempo, athleticism and shooting" that general manager Vlade Divac said the team was building around, per Jason Jones of The Athletic. Capela averaged 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks this past season for Houston, giving James Harden a rim-running, high-flying finisher in the pick-and-roll and providing protection around the hoop on the defensive end. 

While he had his struggles in the postseason against the floor-spacing of the Golden State Warriors, Capela fits the mold of the modern center, given his athleticism and defensive ability. While he's never added perimeter shooting to his repertoire, the Kings have that covered in Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes. 

The question is just what the Kings would have to give up in exchange for Capela. The price wouldn't be too steep, given Houston would be making the deal to create the necessary cap space to absorb Butler's max salary in a sign-and-trade. Still, if enough teams were willing to take on Capela, the price would naturally rise.

Would the Kings willingly part with a future first that would be flipped back to the Philadelphia 76ers in the deal? 

If they were willing to pay the price, a core group of Capela, De'Aaron Fox, Hield, Barnes and Marvin Bagley III would be brimming with potential, and would potentially be a playoff team next season. It's an exciting possibility, though adding Capela will come with the added cost of a future asset, something the Kings won't have to part with if they simply signed a free agent at the position. 

If they believe Capela is their best option, however, that cost may be worth it.