Rumors: Houston Rockets have a trade partner for Clint Capela

Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have reportedly found a trade partner for Clint Capela and are waiting to see if the Sixers will go through with a trade for Jimmy Butler.

After rumors started simmering last week that the Rockets would pursue Jimmy Butler in free agency, Houston has been busy making calls in the background. The team has been shopping Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker for a few days now, in hopes they can swap one of those players for a first-round draft pick in order to sweeten a potential deal with the Sixers.

Daryl Morey and his team have moved quickly and effectively, because they have found a third trade partner.

According to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, the Rockets believe they have third to team that wants center Clint Capela.

The Rockets believe they have a trade partner for Clint Capela but do not intend to deal Capela unless they are sure they can acquire marquee Sixers free agent Jimmy Butler, according to a source briefed on Houston's thinking

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2019

Before pulling the trigger, Houston has to convince Butler to fully buy in to the idea of joining the Rockets. Once the Sixers feel the pressure of potentially losing Butler for nothing, they’ll be more likely to comply with a sign-and-trade deal with Houston.

If Houston can secure a first-round pick in exchange for Capela, they would have a lot more assets to offer Philadelphia, which could help the team retain some of it’s depth in a deal. Fortunately, the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen reported on Thursday that it is not imperative for P.J. Tucker to be included in a deal.

Stein didn’t provide any details on Houston’s newfound trade partner. It could be the Boston Celtics, a team that could lose both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford this summer, opening up a spot for Capela at center.

It was recently reported that Boston had interest in joining Houston and Philadelphia in trade negotiations. One thing to keep in mind is that the Celtics can’t take on Capela’s salary and sign Kemba Walker, who is leaning towards taking his talents to Boston, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. If Boston is the third trade partner, they would have to send out salary to the Sixers in order to absorb Capela’s contract and still have enough room for Walker.

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The Sacramento Kings, a team that is building around young talent, could use a rim-running center like Capela to pair with De’Aaron Fox in the pick-and-roll. Sacramento also has a whopping $60 million in cap space, so they definitely have room to take on Capela without sending out any salary.