This 3-team trade nets Rockets dream reunion with Clint Capela

Clint Capela would welcome a return to the Rockets, but the Hawks need to acquire another star in the deal.
Houston Rockets, Clint Capela
Houston Rockets, Clint Capela / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets have won six straight games and are looking like a contender. They are in the top ten in both offensive and defensive ratings after nine games. Houston is currently fourth in the Western Conference and their offseason moves are certainly paying dividends. New head coach Ime Udoka has the team organized, and their cohesion should only improve from here.

The Rockets need some added rim protection. Alperen Sengun has improved but struggles to defend at the basket and on the perimeter. He will be hunted in the postseason. Credit to him for buying into coach Udoka’s system, but the Rockets could use a true defensive anchor and have Victor Oladipo’s expiring contract to trade.

Clint Capela made his interest in a return known. The Rockets' first-round pick in 2014 spent his first six NBA seasons in Houston. The 6’10 big man fills a need, but can the Rockets make a trade happen?

Houston Rockets could get Clint Capela back before the trade deadline

The Atlanta Hawks explored moving Capela this offseason. They have Onyeka Okongwu, whose rookie extension kicks in next season. Atlanta wants to contend, but cannot afford to pay over $36 million for their two centers.

The Hawks were interested in Pascal Siakam this summer and will explore more upgrades before the trade deadline. If they can swing a blockbuster deal, the Rockets may be able to get Capela on the cheap. The Raptors have Jakob Poeltl, which makes a reunion in Houston even more likely for the current Hawks center. Here is a hypothetical trade that makes it a reality.

Rockets get Capela back

This deal is a win for all sides. Toronto gets three draft picks for Pascal Siakam’s expiring contract. Houston receives the rim protection they need, and the Hawks walk away with a third star. Both sides may try to convince the Rockets to give up more, but neither team wants Capela’s $22.2 million on their books for next season. Houston is happy to facilitate this deal and bring back a needed rim protector.

Clint Capela will set solid screens, roll to the basket, rebound, and protect the cup. He is a traditional center who makes an impact on both ends of the floor. The veteran would have to be comfortable coming off the bench behind Sengun. That could be the only hold-up.

Do the Houston Rockets bring back Clint Capela before the trade deadline? The deal listed above cannot happen until Dec. 15, and talks will pick up just before that date. If the Hawks can land an upgrade, Capela will be available. Houston just needs to take advantage of the opportunity.