LOS ANGELES — The Rockets completed their transformation to a small-ball team, as the four-team trade sending center Clint Capela from Houston to the Atlanta Hawks was officially announced late Wednesday night.
Less than 24 hours before the NBA’s trade deadline, the Rockets, Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets completed their deal.
The Rockets get: Robert Covington (from Minnesota); Jordan Bell (from Minnesota); the Golden State Warriors’ 2024 second-round pick (from Atlanta)
The Hawks get: Clint Capela (from Houston); Nene (from Houston)
The Timberwolves get: Malik Beasley (from Denver); Jarred Vanderbilt (from Denver); Juancho Hernangomez (from Denver); Evan Turner (from Atlanta); the Brooklyn Nets’ lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick (from Atlanta)
The Nuggets get: Gerald Green (from Houston); Noah Vonleh (from Minnesota); Shabazz Napier (from Minnesota); Keita Bates-Diop (from Minnesota); the Rockets’ 2020 first-round pick (from Houston)
Green has not played this season because of a broken foot, but he waived his right to veto being included in the trade. He reportedly is expected to be waived by the Nuggets and continue rehabbing.
But the biggest names in the deal — and the ones expected to have the largest immediate impacts on their new teams — are Capela and Covington.
Capela, 25, was rumored in trade discussions for weeks. He missed three of the past four games with a heel injury but is averaging 13.9 points and a career-best 9.5 rebounds per game.
“We are excited to add Clint to our young core,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement released by the team. “He fills a need for us inside with his ability to protect the rim and rebound at an elite level and offensively, he gives our group another strong finisher and roll man.”
The primary reason the Rockets were looking to move the 6-foot-10 center was his contract. He is in the second year of a five-year, $90 million deal and is due $16 million next season, followed by $17.1 million and $18.2 million in the two seasons after that.
Covington, 29, is averaging 12.8 points and six rebounds this season, and he is shooting a career-best 43.5 percent from the floor while making more than two 3-pointers per game. The 6-7 swing man could fit in nicely alongside James Harden and Russell Westbrook in coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense.
In dealing both Capela and Nene, however, the Rockets are now without a true center — or anything really close to one. According to multiple reports, Houston will play 6-5, 34-year-old swingman P.J. Tucker at center.
Newly acquired Bell is 6-8 and plays center. However, he is having perhaps the worst of his three seasons in the league, sitting on career-low averages in points (3.1), minutes (8.7), steals (0.1) and blocks (0.4). — Reuters