Celtics

Celtics

The Celtics' pursuit of a roster including Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis took a major hit over the last two days. 

There was, of course, Rich Paul's comments in an interview with Sports Illustrated saying that if Davis was dealt to Boston, "it would be for one year." Davis is set to hit free agency in 2020 and could leave the Celtics in a rough spot should they give up some of their best assets to acquire him.

The Celtics' seemingly best chance at retaining Davis past next season, Kyrie Irving, is reportedly preparing to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. If Ainge isn't confident in his chances to keep Davis after a departure from Irving, he might have to pivot to another path toward contention. 

According to Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler, Boston's backup plan for Davis may involve Rockets center Clint Capela. 

The Houston Rockets have been looking for ways to shake up their roster, and sources have said the Celtics have expressed considerable interest in big man Clint Capela, likely as a fall back if they do not land or aggressive pursue Davis.

The Rockets have been trying to get first-round level prospects in for workouts, baiting agents with the idea that can and likely will trade for a pick in the top 20.

 

Kyler reported on Sunday that the Celtics had engaged the Rockets about Capela, so this report seems to piggyback off of that.

Furthermore, Adrian Wojnarowski said during ESPN's NBA Mock Draft special Wednesday night that the Celtics could look to trade one or both of their late-first round picks because they "don't want to have three rookies on the team next season."

Capela, 25, had a solid year in 2018-19, averaging career highs in points (16.6) and rebounds (12.7), while shooting 64.8 percent on his shot attempts, though most of them come at the rim. He isn't a floor-stretching big man like Al Horford, but Capela presents defensive versatility at the center position that few possess. Being able to switch 1-through-5 while providing rim protection are still valuable skills the Celtics seem to covet after drafting Rob Williams in the first round a year ago. 

Neither the Celtics or Rockets have cap space, so they would have to match salaries in a potential deal. Since Capela will make about $16.4 million next season, the Celtics would have to part with some valuable players to get Capela on board. 

The Celtics could theoretically send Horford to Houston in order to contend with James Harden for Capela and Eric Gordon. Horford is reportedly open to opting out of his current contract to sign a team-friendly deal with the Celtics, but it's unknown if his stance would change if Irving signs elsewhere. 

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