Clint Capela

NBA Rumors: Could Clint Capela be a Celtics target at trade deadline?

NBA Rumors: Could Clint Capela be a Celtics target at trade deadline?

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For all of the positive vibes surrounding the 2019-20 Boston Celtics, there's one obvious area for improvement ... and it's under the basket.

The Celtics entered the season pretty thin at center, and early injuries to Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis left only second-year big man Robert Williams, recent pickup Vincent Poirier and 7-foot-6 rookie Tacko Fall to play the position.

Depending on what happens between now and February's NBA trade deadline, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge could decide he needs an upgrade at center to compete in the Eastern Conference.

Could that upgrade be Houston Rockets center Clint Capela?

In a column Wednesday for ESPN, Brian Windhorst mentioned Capela as a player "executives are watching," noting that Houston considered trading Capela last summer before landing Russell Westbrook.

"If the Rockets need midseason changes, and they almost always itch for them, Capela could be available again," Windhorst wrote.

The 25-year-old has averaged a double-double in each of the last two seasons (16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds per game last season) and is an excellent rim protector, with eight blocks in just three games for Houston this season.

Windhorst also noted veteran big man Steven Adams could be a Celtics target if the Oklahoma City Thunder make him available. But during a recent appearance on "The Bill Simmons Podcast," NBC Sports Boston contributor Chris Mannix suggested Capela is the apple of Boston's eye.

"I think the guy they're sitting on, really, is Clint Capela," Mannix said. "I think they'd love to take a Daniel Theis contract and maybe a couple other small things and a draft pick and go get a guy like that."

Expectations are high in Houston with Westbrook joining James Harden, and if they meet those expectations, it seems unlikely they'd deal an important player like Capela while competing for a top Western Conference playoff spot.

But if the Westbrook-Harden experiment goes south, perhaps Ainge will place a call to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

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Report: Rockets believe they have a trade partner for Clint Capela, could it be the C's?

Report: Rockets believe they have a trade partner for Clint Capela, could it be the C's?

The Houston Rockets are in the process of trying to reshape their roster after losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals. And it appears that they have zeroed in on a potential target for their team in Jimmy Butler.

Getting Butler on the squad will be no easy task, as the team will likely have to trade away a few players on big contracts to open up cap space to get him. And that would include center Clint Capela.

However, according to Mark Stein of The New York Times, the Rockets believe that they have found a trade partner for Capela, but their willingness to deal him hinges on whether or not they can get Butler.

Of course, the question for Boston Celtics fans becomes, are the Celtics possibly the team in question? The Celtics had reportedly expressed an interest in Capela earlier in the offseason, and the team has a big need at center. So, a trade for Capela could make sense.

With the Celtics rumored to be the frontrunners to sign Kemba Walker, that could make it more difficult for them to acquire Capela. The Celtics would have limited cap space if they do, in fact, sign Walker, and they couldn't offload salary to the Rockets, who would need the salary cap space to add Butler. So, the Celtics may not be the team in question here.

Given their previous interest, it's possible that the Celtics could be among the teams that are interested in trading for Capela. But any bid to acquire him would likely be secondary to signing Walker and it's unclear if they could create the space to get him and Walker without further shaking up their core.

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NBA Rumors: How Rockets' Jimmy Butler pursuit could take a Celtics target off market

NBA Rumors: How Rockets' Jimmy Butler pursuit could take a Celtics target off market

The Boston Celtics will be paying close attention to what the Philadelphia 76ers do with Jimmy Butler -- and not just from the vantage point of an Eastern Conference competitor.

The Houston Rockets plan to recruit Butler by pushing the Sixers to execute a sign-and-trade deal once he hits free agency June 30, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday night.

What does a Rockets-Sixers trade involving Butler have to do with Boston? Per Wojnarowski, Houston likely "would need to include" two of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker to make the financials work and entice Philly into the trade.

The Celtics, who already traded Aron Baynes and are expected to lose Al Horford in free agency, reportedly have checked in on Capela as a frontcourt option.

The 25-year-old is under contract for the next four years (he's set to make $14.9 million next season) and would give the C's a defensive presence they'll miss without Horford, although it's unclear how he'd perform outside of a Rockets system that maximized his talents.

The Sixers will be "aggressive" in trying to re-sign Butler, per Wojnarowski, and could thwart Houston's plans by offering him a five-year, $190 million deal. But the Rockets reportedly could try to land Butler by sending Capela to Philly, which would take another big man off the market for a Boston team that needs frontcourt depth one way or the other.

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