Although the No. 4 overall selection in a given NBA draft usually turns out to be a talented player who could contribute as soon as their rookie year and go on to have a successful professional career, the Los Angeles Lakers are in win-now mode and, per reports, are planning to trade that pick for a tried-and-tested star. Given that the Lakers are particularly weak at the center position, a new report suggests that there are multiple veteran centers who could be worth sacrificing the fourth overall pick for, including Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets.
In an article published Wednesday, Jason Reed of Fansided’s L.A. Sports Hub listed five centers that the Lakers could acquire for the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, starting with Capela, whom Reed described as someone Los Angeles “definitely should be interested in.” As the Rockets are reportedly making most, if not all, of their players available for trade talks, Capela has found himself in various trade rumors and hypothetical scenarios in recent days. Few, however, appear to have listed the Lakers as a potential destination prior to the L.A. Sports Hub report.
As noted, Capela’s inability to deliver in the postseason has made him the subject of a lot of criticism — per Basketball-Reference, he averaged just 9.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game during the 2019 postseason, where the Rockets were eliminated in the second round by the Golden State Warriors. However, he has been far more productive in regular-season play, averaging 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks and shooting close to 65 percent from the field in the 2018-19 campaign.
“Having Capela on the receiving end of lobs from LeBron James and Lonzo Ball would be extremely fun to watch. He would add a nice layer of interior defense and would help the Lakers be one of the best rebounding teams in the league,” Reed wrote for L.A. Sports Hub.
— New York Post (@nypost) May 29, 2019
Although trading the No. 4 draft pick for Capela would give the Los Angeles Lakers a proven performer and an upgrade over last season’s center rotation led by JaVale McGee, L.A. Sports Hub added that its hypothetical trade scenario for the Swiss big man comes with a caveat. The publication suggested that the Lakers may need to offer other players, such as forward Kyle Kuzma, for the deal to work out.
“That might seem cheap, but the reason the Rockets might be interested in doing this is because of Capela’s new five-year, $90 million contract, which might ultimately hold the Lakers back.”
Aside from Clint Capela, L.A. Sports Hub’s Reed also suggested incoming second-year center Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic, who was the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft. However, The Inquisitr reported yesterday that Los Angeles is supposedly prioritizing “established” veterans as the team shops their fourth overall pick around, which would disqualify the 21-year-old Bamba from potential trade talks.