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Grading the Clint Capela Mega-Trade

Capela Mega-Trade

The trade deadline was looking relatively quiet this year until that was all blown to pieces by a four-team trade centered around Rockets big man Clint Capela. The trade, involving Atlanta, Minnesota, Houston and Denver, involved 12 players and multiple first-round picks. 

Here’s a look at how each team made out.

Atlanta Hawks

Out: Evan Turner, Brooklyn 2020 1st, Golden State 2024 2nd

In: Clint Capela, Nene

Atlanta currently find themselves in the middle of a rebuild but are looking to start turning the corner towards respectability in the near future. Trading for Clint Capela helps to accelerate that process. At only 25 years old, he fits in well to their timeline and if things work out will be Atlanta’s starting center for years to come. Nene also provides a solid veteran presence on a young team.

For a starting-caliber center, they didn’t give up all that much. Evan Turner is a solid role player but is on the wrong side of 30 and on a bad contract to boot. The most valuable asset they gave up is Brooklyn’s first-round pick this year, which projects to be in the 15-20 range. All said and done Atlanta gets another big piece in their rebuild without giving up too much. 

Grade: B+

Houston Rockets

Out: Clint Capela, Gerald Green, Nene, Houston 2020 1st

In: Robert Covington, Jordan Bell, Golden State 2024 2nd

The Rockets have officially gone all-in on the super small-ball lineup after trading their only reliable center in Clint Capela. At just 6’6”, PJ Tucker will now be starting at center for the Rockets in their new and innovative system. 

Robert Covington playing for Minnesota, courtesy of essential sports

To replace Capela in the starting lineup the Rockets bring in Robert Covington, the 3-and D guard/forward from Minnesota. Covington is a great fit for this new small-ball lineup, which relies heavily on solid perimeter defense and elite scoring from deep, both attributes Covington possesses. 

While Covington is a good player Houston did give up quite a lot to bring him in. They lose Capela and a 1st round pick, a high price for a player averaging just 12 points per game, but also are able to dump the expensive contracts of Gerald Green and Nene. Jordan Bell also could see playing time and is a relatively young player with room to improve. Whether this trade was a success will depend on how well Covington fits into the new small-ball lineup but as it stands Houston gave up a little too much for him. 

Grade: C-

Minnesota Timberwolves

Out: Robert Covington, Jordan Bell, Keita Bates-Diop, Noah Voneleh, Shabazz Napier

In: Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez, Evan Turner, Jarred Vanderbilt, Brooklyn 2020 1st

Minnesota looked to trade Robert Covington for a while before making this move and at first glance appear to have gotten a solid haul for him. They do lose a semi-promising young player in Keita Bates-Diop as well as a solid rotation piece in Shabazz Napier but more than make up for that in the return haul. 

Capela Mega-Trade
Beasley drives to the hoop, courtesy of NBC sports

The centerpiece of this deal for the Timberwolves is Malik Beasley, the young Denver Nuggets shooting guard. He was great last year and while his numbers dipped this year Minnesota is hoping he will be a valuable member of their squad for many years to come. 

The other important piece for Minnesota is the Brooklyn first-round pick, which is projected to be in the mid to late teens. They can use that Brooklyn pick to acquire another young talent or might attempt to flip it in a possible trade for Warriors guard, D’Angelo Russell. 

Overall the Timberwolves picked up a bright young prospect and a solid first-round pick for Covington, as well as a veteran presence and quality role player in Evan Turner. 

Grade: B

Denver Nuggets

Out: Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt

In: Gerald Green, Kieta Bates Diop, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh, Houston 2020 First

For Denver, you have to wonder if they could have gotten a bit more for Beasley elsewhere. This trade doesn’t offer them much outside of two solid bench players in Bates Diop and Napier as well as Houstons 1st, which projects to be in the mid to late 20s.

Capela Mega-Trade
Bates Diop balling out, courtesy of

While it’s not the worst haul in the world, Bates Diop could still improve and there is always a chance to strike gold with a 1st round pick, the Nuggets should have tried to get a bit more for Beasley. But as it stands this trade shouldn’t affect the Nuggets too much besides swapping a couple of bench pieces.

Grade: C-


All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference

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