The Atlanta Hawks have already made a few major shakeups this offseason. First, they sent Danilo Gallinari to the San Antonio Spurs for Dejounte Murray. Then, they sent Kevin Huerter to the Sacramento Kings for a package of players and draft capital. Both moves assure a very different look for the team next season.
They also made a call to the Brooklyn Nets to make an offer for previously disgruntled superstar Kevin Durant. Their offer was nowhere close to substantial enough to get the deal done for the 12-time All-Star.
All of their activity has made them a prime target for hypothetical scenarios involving just about everyone on the roster.
That includes veteran center Clint Capela.
Clint Capela goes to Atlanta Hawks division rival in newly proposed trade
Capela is coming off of a down year that saw him start and finish slow due to injury. His points and rebounds both fell from a season ago when he was the rebounding champ and the Hawks went to the Eastern Conference Finals. Worst of all, his defensive rating fell below the 55th percentile for the first time in his career, per Cleaning The Glass.
Still, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley offers up an idea that he feels would properly balance out the Hawks roster.
“The Hawks don’t need to trade Capela, but it could help balance the roster. This group looks good at guard and up front, but the wing spots still run a little shallow. This could help correct that. [Kelly] Oubre is a lanky, athletic swingman who can cause havoc defensively, pile up transition points and, in a good year, offer a decent blend of volume and accuracy with his outside shot.”
Oubre is a fairly known commodity at this point in his career. But Buckley makes an interesting case for the other assets.
“[James] Bouknight, last year’s No. 11 pick, and the first-rounder are wild cards, but Atlanta might need more long-term assets after parting with three firsts (and a swap) in the Dejounte Murray deal”
Bouknight’s argument is much tougher given the red flags he had coming out of college and the issues he has had since coming into the NBA.
Then there is the not-so-simple issue of replacing Capela whose efficiency differential ranked fourth among returning Hawks last season. According to Buckley, the Hawks could attempt to do it by committee.
“While Capela is a good player, the hope for the Hawks is that a combination of Onyeka Okongwu and John Collins could cover the center spot without missing a beat. If Okongwu reaches his full potential, the simple act of him replacing Capela could eventually bump this club’s ceiling up a story or two.”
Okongwu’s development was of particular interest to Hawks president Travis Schlenk during his exit interview as he challenged the third-year forward to improve his rebounding.
But our Matt Hallet laid out why it might not be the best idea to play Collins at center.
The Hawks could have interest in adding more draft capital. Just maybe not at the expense of Capela who is close with star point guard Trae Young. The two have been working out together this offseason.
They would also have to re-sign Oubre who is heading into the final year of his contract, next offseason.
That is a lot of moving parts and “what ifs” to give the stability that a healthy Capela – who signed a two-year, $45 million extension last summer – provides over to a rival. And, teamed with Murray and De’Andre Hunter, he should provide the Hawks with a much-improved defense next season.