It’s unclear how likely a trade actually is.
“The Mavericks don’t want to be done,” NBA insider Marc Stein said. “Maybe they are done with this roster because further moves are not available to them. They would love if the chance to make another trade run at Clint Capela from the Atlanta Hawks materializes to this point. That opportunity has not availed itself to the Mavericks. But will Atlanta move Capela elsewhere which creates an opportunity for Dallas to try to get in as a third team? Or would they trade him somewhere to a team that really only needs him for contract purposes, salary cap matching purposes in the trade and then that team makes Capela available?”
Capela would likely be a huge pickup for Dallas, as the big man could fill various needs for the Mavs and their star duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
The team could certainly use a big body to man the paint and cover for its guards’ defensive deficiencies. While his defensive stats have regressed a bit in recent years, Capela has shown an ability to protect the rim in the past. He averaged 1.9 blocks per game while playing for the Houston Rockets in the 2017-18 season and recorded a career-high 2.0 rejections per contest in the 2020-21 campaign in Atlanta.
Moreover, Dallas could use an elite rebounder, as the team finished last in that department last season, registering just 38.8 boards per match. Its leading rebounder in the 2022-23 campaign was Doncic, who hauled in 8.6 boards per game. Evidently, that is not an ideal recipe for success for an aspiring playoff contender.
On offense, Capela is a solid screener and rim runner who has shown terrific chemistry with James Harden and Trae Young.
Only time will tell if an opportunity to trade for the 29-year-old center emerges for Dallas. It seems that the Hawks’ asking price for Capela during draft night was too steep for the Mavs.
“Would the Mavs love for that opportunity to be presented?” Stein posed. “Yes, they would. They did not at the draft. They were not willing to package No. 10 and Josh Green to get Clint Capela — they deemed the price too high at that time, but the interest has not gone away.”
Perhaps Atlanta is willing to dial down the asking price, considering that it traded John Collins to the Utah Jazz for a package of Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick. In addition, maybe the Hawks will consider doubling down on their attempt to shed some salary by trading away Capela, which could also give former No. 6 pick Onyeka Okongwu more playing time.
Given those possibilities, there are understandable reasons for the Mavs’ continued optimism in potentially landing Capela.