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Report: Rockets could have trade interest in Atlanta’s Clint Capela

As the NBA’s Feb. 8 trade deadline nears, finding a backup center to play behind Alperen Sengun has long been of interest for the Houston Rockets. Now, with in-season deadline day for the 2023-24 campaign just over three weeks away, are talks picking up?

Brett Siegel, NBA insider and reporter for ClutchPoints, lists the Rockets among four teams with interest in veteran center Clint Capela. Now with the Atlanta Hawks, Capela previously played in Houston from October 2014 until the February 2020 trade deadline.

Siegel writes:

Frustrations stemming from their lack of success continue to mount in Atlanta, leaving the Hawks’ front office open to virtually all offers coming their way. For Capela, an influx of playoff-contending teams have already begun to show a level of interest, with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, and Sacramento Kings named as possible suitors for the veteran center, sources said.

While Capela has continued to remain an impactful frontcourt talent for the Hawks, fourth-year big man Onyeka Okongwu has continued to see his role increase since the start of the season. After Okongwu received a four-year, $62 million extension from the Hawks, Capela has become expendable to Atlanta. The team is interested in moving his contract in order to create a level of financial flexibility moving forward.

Capela is making $20.6 million in the 2023-24 season and will make $22.3 million in 2024-25, the last season of his current deal.

If finances are a major consideration, that could provide a clear path for general manager Rafael Stone and the Rockets.

By combining the expiring contracts of Victor Oladipo ($9.5 million) and Jock Landale ($8.0 million), Houston could meet the league’s salary matching rules for trades while slightly reducing Atlanta’s 2023-24 and removing that salary slot altogether for 2024-25.

The question, of course, is whether the Rockets and Hawks could then agree to terms on value compensation (likely in the form of future draft equity) to be sent along with those expiring contracts.

Now 29 years old, Capela is averaging 11.3 points (57.3% FG) and 10.5 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game this season.

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire