Clint Capela has worked himself from being a very raw player and he is set to hit free agency this summer and cash in on his level of production. He should have plenty of suitors should the Rockets be unable to afford him.
One of which will apparently be the Phoenix Suns.
Source: Phoenix Suns "enamored" with Clint Capela, plan to offer max contract in free agency https://t.co/QVFUZ3wHNy
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) May 10, 2018
Here is an excerpt from the piece by Iko on USA Today:
“With free agency approaching, Capela is due for a huge payday. He is currently in the final year of his rookie deal, making approximately $2.3 million this season. Even though he is a restricted free agent, Clint Capela figures to have a list of suitors once July 1 arrives.
According to a league source, one such team is the Phoenix Suns. They have kept tabs on him throughout the season, and have reportedly become “enamored” with him. They have plans to offer Capela a max or near-max contract once free agency begins. The source requested anonymity because he isn’t authorized to comment on the Suns’ plans.
As for its center depth, Phoenix currently has only 35-year-old Tyson Chandler under contract for next season. Chandler is slated to earn $13 million.”
Upon first glance this makes sense, the worst defensive team in the NBA last season with a huge need at the center position is interested in acquiring the best young defensive center on the market this summer.
Capela averaged 13.8 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks this season with an impressive +3.0 defensive box plus/minus rating and turns 24 on May 18.
When you really consider things though, offering max level money to a complimentary player like Capela would not be a wise move for a rebuilding team like the Suns.
Capela gets the vast majority of his offensive looks and production off of James Harden and Chris Paul’s elite ability to get into the lane and draw attention and throw easy lobs to the big man, they maybe do it better than any other two players in the NBA.
Capela has very few if any touches around the rim or around the hoop where he is required to create anything on his own and the Suns don’t currently have anywhere near a starting caliber point guard on their roster that can place Capela in favorable positions to score like that.
Is paying him $20 million a season really better than drafting a center like DeAndre Ayton or Mo Bamba with their 1st round pick? Those guys are under the age of 20 and each has a much higher upside than Capela and you can have them for a third of the price over the next four seasons.
It seems like a no-brainer to me to only consider Capela if they don’t land either in the NBA Draft, which seems like more of a possibility now that they have hired Igor Kokoskov, who has experience coaching and raves about top european prospect Luka Doncic.
There are definitely worse ways for the Phoenix Suns to spend their money if they decide to in free agency this summer, but opting to pay Capela that kind of money instead of addressing the position in the draft feels like it could be misguided.