Hawks’ potential roster retooling could see big man hit the trade market

    Clint Capela could find himself on the trade block this summer. 

    The veteran rim-runner has been with the Atlanta Hawks since the 2020 season and has been a significant part of their rotation. Atlanta is expected to retool its roster this summer, though, and the 30-year-old big man could be a casualty of the front office’s desire to restructure the team. 

    According to Marc Stein, who was writing in his newsletter, Capela could potentially be made available due to the presence of Onyeka Okongwu and the potential for adding another big man in the draft. 

    “The Hawks had serious talks with Dallas about a Capela deal in conjunction with the 2023 draft a year ago,” Stein reported. “…The presence of Onyeka Okongwu and potential arrival of another big man through the draft, with Atlanta holding the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since 1975, is expected to make Capela available.”

    In his four seasons with the Hawks, Capela has averaged 12.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists on 60.6% shooting from the field. As a prototypical rim-runner, Capela is at his best when screening, rolling or running the floor in transition. 

    Onyeka provides all of those traits while being younger and cheaper. Furthermore, coach Quin Snyder may want a modern big man in the rotation to help space the floor for teammates. 

    It will be interesting to see how much of a trade market there is for Capela. He doesn’t fit the modern-day pace and space offense. However, teams are starting to utilize non-shooting bigs in new ways. 

    Both Boston and the Minnesota Timberwolves have been running their non-shooters in the slot, drawing the defensive big higher up the floor to provide spacing without shooting. Coaches are getting smarter, and in turn, roles are emerging for more traditional centers.

    Capela is also a legitimate pick-and-roll threat. He’s explosive, strong and has good length. He will have one more year left on his two-year $45M deal. As such, there may be a team that’s willing to take a flyer on adding Capela with a view on retaining him on a team-friendly contract moving forward. 

    Which team that will be remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Capela’s professionalism and clear-cut skill set should make him a viable trade chip during the summer months. 

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