Grade the trade: Rockets land much needed rim protector in bold proposal

Indiana Pacers v Houston Rockets
Indiana Pacers v Houston Rockets / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
3 of 3

Why the Hawks do the deal

The Hawks have been trying to surround Trae Young with more firepower, which prompted the Dejounte Murray trade last offseason. Adding a third star like Siakam could put them on the same stratosphere as the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, or so they'd hope.

Furthermore, they'd have the draft capital to acquire another key player, if they wanted. Sure, they'd have to dole out big money to Siakam in an extension, but they'd be freeing themselves of Capela's $22.3 million in 2024-25 and the entirety of Hunter's extension.

Why the Rockets do the deal

To many, the Rockets never should've traded Clint Capela, as he was the lob threat that James Harden needed. Sure, Capela being removed led to favorable mismatches for the small-ball squad, as it essentially placed Russell Westbrook at the center position on the offensive end, which was (and would still be) a mismatch for opposing bigs.

But it wasn't exactly necessary.

The Rockets haven't been able to replace Capela's role and value since the trade was executed in 2020, which was easy to mask, as the team was in a complete tear-down. With Udoka placing a point of emphasis on the defensive end of the floor, the time has resurfaced to bring in a formidable rim protector.

Capela provides a skillset that's significantly lacking on the Rockets' roster, as he's essentially the opposite of Alperen Sengun, who thrives on the offensive end of the floor. Capela is still capable of being a lob threat, presumably for the second unit

And although it may seem as though the Rockets need a serviceable reserve guard to replace Kevin Porter Jr's role, Aaron Holiday and Amen Thompson can hold the fort down. Not to mention Reggie Bullock, who figures to get back to the norm at some point.

The Rockets don't have anyone capable of being a glass cleaner and rim protector, even if Capela isn't quite the same as his former self as the Rockets' rim protector. Granted, questions remain regarding Capela's willingness to be a reserve center, but if he's willing to do that, this trade would be a no-brainer for the Rockets, as we know that Rafael Stone doesn't quite value draft picks.

Overall Grade: A