IT took longer than both sides would have liked, but a deal is done. Clint Capela signed a five-year, $90 million contract yesterday, tying him to the Houston Rockets for the foreseeable future. Given the rest of Houston’s offseason moves, Capela will be more important than ever in 2018-19 as the Rockets look to stay in the championship hunt.
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CAPELA was chasing a deal similar to that of Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams which would have paid him close to $25 million a season. He also reportedly declined the Rockets original five-year, $85 million deal either in the offseason. Even if a new contract wasn’t agreed too, most expected Capela to be in Houston next year regardless. A restricted free agent, Houston had the right to match any offers made by a rival team and all signs pointed to Capela playing under his $4.3 million qualifying offer next year. Instead, the big Swiss man in the middle will be staying in Clutch City.
HE is more than deserving of this new deal, especially after the season he just had. Capela started to piece it altogether averaging career highs across the board. He led the league in field goal percentage (65.2%), was second in blocks per (1.9) and finished second in Most Improved Player voting, behind winner Victor Oladipo. Things didn’t change much in the playoffs with Capela averaging 12.7 points, 11.6 boards and 2.1 blocks, while once again leading all players in field goal percentage (66.0%).
ALL those numbers are exciting, but there is one that stands out above all of them. 24. At such a young age, we most likely haven’t seen the best that Capela has to offer and after the other roster moves that transpired this offseason that is HUGE. Losing defensive wings Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute means that those who are left will need to pick up the slack on D. Carmelo Anthony won’t be helping much in that regard so Capela’s presence in defense will be crucial if the Rockets are too succeed.
HIS ability to clog the paint makes life hell for smaller players. Plonking him in the paint and surrounding him with great iso scorers like Melo, Chris Paul and James Harden means that Capela can rely on a lot of shots close to the basket for his points. He led the league in total dunks a season ago with 213 and over 80% of his baskets resulted in an assist for one of his teammates (most of which went to Paul or Harden).
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THIS contract will still see Capela earn less money per year than the likes of Allen Crabbe, George Hill and Joakim Noah (LOL). The defensive upside alone that Capela gives this Houston Rockets team makes his extension worthwhile. Last year Houston went 42-3 with Capela, Paul and Harden in the lineup and if they can recapture the vibe, there could very well take the Warriors deep into another playoff series. Still, keeping their core of Capela, Paul and Harden together should see Houston stay in contention for at least the next few seasons and maybe, just maybe they can go all the way if the chips fall in their favour.
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