The Los Angeles Lakers will enter the 2018 free agent market for the purpose of coming out with one superstar or possibly two if they can manipulate their cap situation. While the focus has been on LeBron James and Paul George, there are others who could find themselves in purple and gold come the start of the 2018 season. One name, in particular, according to Gil Alcaraz IV of Hoops Habit is Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers’ history is full of dominant big men, and adding Capela could be right up Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson’s alley. From the days of Wilt Chamberlin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol, the Lakers are known to have one of the best in the post. However, times have changed as the Lakers have dealt with the likes of Timofey Mozgov, Roy Hibbert, Dwight Howard, and Brook Lopez. While some of those names have produced, there has not been a championship since Gasol. Something has to change.
If the Lakers were to steal Capela away from Chris Paul and James Harden, the Lakers will own one heck of an opposing frontcourt. There’s reason to believe the Lakers will re-sign Julius Randle after his monster second-half and with young Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers will be set for a deep run.
The one issue is the Rockets. Daryl Morey will do whatever it takes to keep Capela, who has season averages of 14.2 points and 11 rebounds on 65 percent shooting. The one glaring issue that the Rockets may face is that they will be strapped for cash. Not only is Capela a free agent (restricted), but so is Paul and Trevor Ariza. Not to mention the big deals they already have in place for Harden ($42 million), Ryan Anderson ($20 million), and Eric Gordon ($13 million). As much as the Rockets need Capela, they may not be able to afford him. Yet, the Lakers can.
If Capela is tired of playing third-fiddle with the Rockets, the Lakers will be his best option. While Capela’s numbers are great, they could be better. He averages just 9.3 shot attempts per game. Pair Capela with Lonzo Ball, who’s not much of a point scorer like Paul, and Lonzo could average 12 assists per game easily while Capela could up his averages with more attempts.
What it will boil down to is money. The Rockets can give him the qualifying offer of $3.4 million, but the Lakers can offer him a max deal and the Rockets can either match it or let him walk. This is where the Lakers must do whatever is necessary to get the services of the NBA’s leader in FG percentage and one of the best defensive big men in the game.