Clint Capela is one of the most talented, young big men in the NBA and is set to receive a big pay raise this offseason. After the best season of his career with the Houston Rockets last season, Capela has hit the restricted free agent market. Houston will have the opportunity to match any offer sheet that he signs, but they may not have the money to keep him from walking.
According to a report from David Aldridge of NBA.com, the Los Angeles Lakers are aggressively pursuing Capela this offseason. Los Angeles has set up a meeting with Capela on Sunday to discuss a potential contract.
Signing a piece like Capela would be a nice step in the right direction for the Lakers. It may, however, be a disappointment for some Lakers’ fans who were hoping for a Paul George or LeBron James signing. James is still an option and signing Capela might be a step in the right direction for L.A.
Last season with the Rockets, Capela ended up averaging 13.9 points per game to go along with 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. He shot 65.2 percent from the field overall and knocked down 56 percent of his foul shots. Capela still has some work to do on his game, but he is already a dangerous threat on both ends of the court.
At 24 years old, Capela would finally give the Lakers a legitimate long-term option at the center position. It has been a long time since the Lakers had a young star at the center position.
Most analysts and reporters believe that the Rockets will match any offer sheet another team signs Capela to. If that is the case, the Lakers would be forcing one of the tough teams out West into cap trouble to keep their young center. That is a decision that would be tough to make for the Rockets.
Luke Walton and the Lakers are full of young talent. Names like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball are all capable of taking big steps for next season, but it sounds like Magic Johnson wants to jumpstart the rebuilding process with big names. Los Angeles has also been linked in trade rumors to San Antonio Spurs’ star Kawhi Leonard.
It will be interesting to see what the Lakers are able to get done this offseason. Capela is an extremely intriguing free agent target, but fans shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet.
More rumors will continue coming out surrounding the Lakers over the next few days. Until James makes his decision, the Lakers will do everything in their power to convince “The King” to take L.A. back to title contention.