Celtics

Should Celtics turn to Clint Capela trade if Al Horford leaves as free agent?

Should Celtics turn to Clint Capela trade if Al Horford leaves as free agent?

The Boston Celtics needed to add depth in the frontcourt before Al Horford reportedly opted out of his contract this week, and with rumors suggesting the veteran center could take his talents elsewhere, interior defense should be a top priority for the C's as they build next season's roster.

Who could the Celtics target on the trade market if Horford leaves in NBA free agency in July? One name to consider is Houston Rockets center Clint Capela. A report last week said the Celtics were "intrigued" by Capela, and SNY's Ian Begley reported Tuesday the Celtics have "checked in" with the Rockets regarding the talented big man.

Capela averaged 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for Houston last season. He's also just 25 years old, so he'd fit in well on the Celtics if they want to go young and build around Jayson Tatum (age 21) and Jaylen Brown (age 22).

Horford and Capela do have one big difference in their skill sets. Horford is a very good 3-point shooter, while Capela didn't take a single shot from beyond the arc last season. Capela won't stretch the floor like Horford, but like the veteran center, the Rockets star is a very good interior defender. Capela's contract has four years and $72 million remaining, which isn't burdensome, but also not cheap for a player who doesn't shoot from 3-point range.

Another concern with Capela is if the Rockets' system made him look better than he would be on another team. Capela got a lot of alley-oops and open shots near the rim as a result of James Harden and Chris Paul often drawing multiple defenders on pick-and-rolls or simple drives to the basket. The Celtics don't have a guard like Harden, but they do run plenty of pick-and-rolls, and Brad Stevens is as good as any head coach when it comes to putting players in a position to maximize their talent.

Why would the Rockets want to trade Capela? Well, Houston needs to make some changes after failing to reach the NBA Finals in each of the last two seasons, and the reported drama surrounding the Harden/Paul duo sounds problematic as well.

What would the Celtics have to give up for Capela? Trading Tatum or Brown obviously would be a foolish move. The Rockets haven't made a first-round pick since 2015, and the Celtics have three first-rounders in the 2019 draft. The Rockets reportedly are expected to be aggressive in pursuing star free agent Jimmy Butler, and clearing Capela's salary from their books without taking on a large contract in return would aid in that process. 

The Celtics should pursue Capela, but having to give up Tatum, Brown or even Marcus Smart would be reason to walk away from any negotiations. If that's a deal-breaker for Houston, so be it. Capela is really talented, but he's not a superstar player, and the Celtics shouldn't part with their best assets to acquire him. Those assets should be a saved for a franchise cornerstone-type star.

Click for the biggest winners and losers of the Anthony Davis trade>>>

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Biggest NBA trades, signings since Kevin Durant joined Warriors

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USA Today Sports

Biggest NBA trades, signings since Kevin Durant joined Warriors

When Kevin Durant chose to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer of 2016 and join the 73-win Warriors, it shifted the balance of power in the NBA heavily toward Golden State. Over the course of three seasons, the Warriors won back-to-back titles and could have secured the first three-peat since the Kobe-Shaq Lakers if it weren't for injuries to key players and a terrific performance by the Toronto Raptors this past June. 

Durant choosing the Warriors was the biggest move since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. Now that Durant has moved on, which move will define the next era of NBA basketball? Let's take a look. 

Click here to see the full gallery>>>

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck makes sobering admission about 2018-19 team

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck makes sobering admission about 2018-19 team

Wyc Grousbeck has endured some dark years as co-owner of the Boston Celtics since he bought the team in 2002.

Yet somehow, none of those abysmal seasons or playoff pitfalls rankled him as much as this most recent Celtics team.

"I'm as frustrated as I’ve ever been in 16 years," Grousbeck told The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach in a recent interview.

That's coming from a co-owner who witnessed the C's win a total of 57 games between 2005 and 2007 and suffer a heartbreaking loss to the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals.

But what vexed Grousbeck the most was that the 2018-19 Celtics, plagued by chemistry issues and inconsistency, swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round and appeared to have righted the ship, only to lose four straight to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round after winning Game 1.

"We won five (in a row), I felt great," Grousbeck added. "I thought the problems were over. We lost four and I don’t feel great and the problems were not over."

The Celtics have attempted to address those problems by bringing in Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter after watching Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Terry Rozier walk in free agency and trading Aron Baynes to the Phoenix Suns.

Grousbeck, who said the C's have already sold out their season tickets for 2019-20, seems more optimistic with this new squad now than he did back in May.

"Now we’ve added these guys and some rookies and there’s a renewed sense of energy and optimism on the team," he added. "They’ve got to make it happen."

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