By RJ Saunders
Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday, that the Houston Rockets and center Clint Capela, have agreed to a five-year, $90 million extension.
This was a major signing for the Rockets as the 24-year-old big man played a major role in the Rockets’ championship aspirations and is coming off a career year. This past season he averaged 13 points per game, led the NBA in field goal percentage (62 percent), was second in blocks per game (1.9), and eighth in rebounds (10.8).
Capela was also eighth in double-doubles (42) and placed second behind Indiana Pacers’ Victor Oladipo for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
Capella, a restricted free agent, was looking for his big payday among the likes of what Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (four years, $100 million) and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (four years, $102 million) received from their respective teams in 2016. While he might not have hit those numbers, this deal will exceed those for other centers this summer.
This gives the Rockets one less thing to worry about. Re-signing Capela was what seemed to be the Rockets’ top priority this off-season. Capela could’ve agreed to the qualifying offer of $4.3 million, however, he would’ve became an unrestricted free agent next year.
The Rockets have now taken care of their three main stars.
With 2018 MVP James Harden signing a four-year, $228 million supermax deal last summer, guard Chris Paul signing on for another four years with the Rockets for $160 million earlier this month and now with the Capela signing, Houston has made clear that this trio will be their foundation for years to come.
This could spell trouble for the rest of the league, because when all three were in the lineup… they were problematic for a lot of teams. The big three posted a 42-3 record when all in the starting lineup and achieved the league’s best record (65-17) before losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in seven games.
There will be quite a few questions surrounding the Rockets coming into next season. With Carmelo Anthony reportedly coming aboard once he clears waivers, what will the dynamic be with now three ball-dominant players? In addition, how will they compensate defensively on the perimeter after losing their best defender in Trevor Ariza?
But Houston isn’t worrying about that today. This day belongs to Clint Capela and Harden could not be happier for his big man.
“Obviously we love the game of basketball, but to be able to provide for your family for generations, that’s what we do it for,” Harden said in an earlier interview. “I’ve seen him work his butt off these last few years. He listens, learns, competes. I’m happy for him.”