As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics have engaged with the Houston Rockets about acquiring center Clint Capela.
Just when it looked like Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics would finally skate by the NBA trade deadline without a blockbuster trade rumor swirling over their head, in comes Clint Capela for his seemingly annual visit to Boston headlines.
This could simply be recency bias coming through, but this rumor seems more legitimate than those of years past; the price for Capela has come down considerably, and because Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter have been playing so well, the Celtics aren’t as desperate to address the problem Capela solves.
Regardless, Clint Capela is an undeniable upgrade at a position where the Celtics are conspicuously lacking elite talent. Daniel Theis has been fantastic all year, but he’s shorter than the Philadelphia 76ers’ point guard, Ben Simmons.
One of the main reasons the Celtics have been relatively quiet in this year’s trade talks is because Danny Ainge has no reason to trade one of their top five guys (Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart). But that’s what makes Capela so unique, he is one of a select few who would not require the Celtics to move one of the guys listed above.
Why the Rockets want to Trade Clint Capela
It seems odd the Rockets would want to move on from such an effective player who only makes about $14.9 million this year and is under contract through the 2022-23 season, but they have much more pressing issues. The Rockets are desperately looking for an effective wing but do not have the assets to acquire one. In come the Celtics.
It is believed Houston needs at least one first round pick to flip for the wing player they desire, to which the Celtics have 3: The Memphis Grizzlies’ pick, their own, and the Milwaukee Bucks’ pick.
Celtics Trade Packages
As mentioned by Bobby Marks above, along with a first round pick Boston needs to send $10 Million in salary to the Houston Rockets.
Celtics players who could realistically be traded:
Marcus Smart – $12 Million
Daniel Theis – $5 Million
Enes Kanter – $5 Million
Romeo Langford – $3.5 Million
Javonte Green – $900,000
Semi Ojeleye – $1.6 Million
Boston Celtics Receive: Clint Capela
Houston Rockets Receive: Semi Ojeleye, Romeo Langford, Daniel Theis, and the Boston Celtics’ 2020 First-Round Pick
Daniel Theis slides right into the Rockets’ style of play given he is basically a worse version of Clint Capela. Romeo Langford is a high potential rookie with a smooth offensive game and a defensive impact that relies heavily on his effort level. Langford would be a really good get for the Rockets’ future or a trade asset, but he is not the immediate fix they crave. Ojeleye’s ceiling is a three-and-D role player, but he is here primarily as a salary filler.
Boston Celtics Receive: Clint Capela and 2021 Second-Round Pick via Philadelphia 76ers (right to swap)
Houston Rockets Receive: Marcus Smart and Boston Celtics’ First Round Pick
There have been reports the Houston Rockets are asking for Marcus Smart in a Clint Capela trade. That’s not happening. There are so many reasons why this is a terrible idea, but none more true than the fact there is no team in the NBA that values a good culture more than the Boston Celtics. After the excruciating experience that was last year’s team, I can’t see Ainge tearing the heart out of this squad.
Also, with the excellent play of Kanter and Theis, Capela is merely a luxury upgrade and does not solve their biggest problem: Bench scoring. Marcus Smart is too high of a price to pay in this case.
Boston Celtics Receive: Clint Capela
Houston Rockets Receive: Romeo Langford, Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, and Memphis Grizzlies’ 2020 First-Round Pick (Top 6 Protected)
This is probably the limit to what the Celtics would even consider sending to Houston and therefore could be the most likely option. The Rockets are looking for wing depth, a first-round pick, and a reasonable replacement at center. This deal satisfies all of their criteria.
For the Celtics, trading away BOTH Kanter and Theis would be a tough pill to swallow considering it would devastate their front-court depth, however Capela would make Boston the most likely team to take down the Bucks in the Eastern Conference.