The Houston Rockets are moving on from Clint Capela as part of a blockbuster four-team deal ahead of the NBA trade deadline. Robert Covington is headed to the Rockets as the team looks to solidify their roster heading into their stretch run. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the details that are known so far about the trade featuring the Rockets, Hawks, Timberwolves and Nuggets.
ESPN Sources: 4-team trade agreement: Houston: Robert Covington; Atlanta: Clint Capela and Nene; Minnesota: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Evan Turner, ATL 1st round pick via Nets; Denver: Gerald Green, Houston FRP…Minnesota’s Keita Bates-Diop is going to Denver in deal, source tells ESPN…More players in the deal: Denver’s Jarred Vanderbilt is on his way to Minnesota, league sources tell ESPN. Jordan Bell to Houston.
Here is a look at the Rockets projected starting lineup after the trade along with the updated roster.
Rockets Projected Starting Lineup & Roster After Trade
C: PJ Tucker, Isaiah Hartenstein, Tyson Chandler
PF: Danuel House Jr., Jordan Bell
SF: Robert Covington, Ben McLemore, Thabo Sefolosha, William Howard
SG: James Harden, Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, Michael Frazier
PG: Russell Westbrook, Chris Clemons
The Rockets are hoping Covington can help the team form a new big three with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Houston also receives Jordan Bell as part of the deal. Bell had a promising start to his career with the Warriors but has struggled in recent years. The big man should receive a fresh opportunity given the Rockets traded away Capela and are now stretched thin down low.
The Rockets Could Be in the Market for Another Big Man Before the Trade Deadline
Houston may not be done dealing as rumors continue to surround the franchise. The Rockets are still in the market for reinforcements behind P.J. Tucker who is expected to start at center with Capela headed to the Hawks. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that the Rockets are looking for another big man before Thursday’s deadline.
“Sources: Jordan Bell is also headed to Houston, as first reported by @Jonathan_Feigen. Rockets will continue being aggressive in search for a center, either via trade or in buyout market…To be clear, the Rockets aren’t searching for a starting center. They’re playing small-ball and rolling with PJ Tucker at the 5. But they need a big to throw at Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, etc. in the playoffs,” MacMahon tweeted.
Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets made the deal to get a wing player that adds shooting and defense on the perimeter. Capela is on the second season of a five-year, $90 million contract, per Spotrac. His salary is $14.8 million for this season on a contract that runs through 2023.
The move may have been made partly for basketball reasons, but there were also financial implications. ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that the trade helped move the Rockets below the tax threshold.
“Robert Covington has a $11.3M cap hit and is under contract through 2021-22. Jordan Bell is on a $1.6M expiring contract. The Rockets go from a tax team to $5.8M below the threshold. They also have two open roster spots now with the trade,” Marks noted on Twitter.