Talks between the Houston Rockets and restricted free agent center Clint Capela are still on the works, nearly three weeks in the making, as both sides try to agree on a long-term deal that will keep their 1-2-5 core intact.
Capela was reportedly seeking a deal of the length and size of Steven Adams’ with the Oklahoma City Thunder — a four-year, $100 million deal. Yet the Swiss-born center has fallen well short of his payday goal, initially getting a $60 million offer for three years, which then was extended to $85 million for four years (which can reach up to $90 million with incentives).
Is Capela worth $100 million? Maybe not, but to the Rockets, he’s worth every penny of that, according to Kelly Scaletta of Bleacher Report.
The 6-foot-9 center isn’t towering by any means of the imagination, and is very much a creation of the system, flourishing under Mike D’Antoni after two seasons barely scrapping for minutes in the rotation.
Capela is a high-flying, lob-catching machine with a tenacious attitude on the glass and a ruthless ability to block shots, but he is only a more athletic version of Kyle O’Quinn if he signs with another team.
The big man largely benefits from rim runs and lob passes from the stellar backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden, two elite playmakers that have taken every chance to yield the most out of his athleticism and fed him close to the basket as often as possible.
One can say he’s a product of what two All-Star backcourt players can do with any center being willing to play under that system.
Capela has made strides in every season since getting drafted in 2014, but his career-high numbers of 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game just aren’t enough to command $25 million per year.
Most star centers are paid under $20 million per year and one of the few exceptions, DeAndre Jordan, got the last year of his deal matched by the Dallas Mavericks as a welcoming courtesy.
Is Capela worth the $100 million to the Rockets? Sure, but they would be smart to negotiate as teams come forward, allowing him to see what his value really is to the rest of the NBA.
Houston is already waist-deep in the luxury tax and bound to be hit with the repeater tax in the coming years after doling out a whopping $160 million to Paul earlier this summer.