Proposed Hawks trade lands pair of former 1st-round picks

Atlanta Hawks, Quin Snyder. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks, Quin Snyder. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming off back-to-back impressive wins, one in comeback fashion, the Atlanta Hawks are still a team many are keeping an eye on for potential trades even with the trade deadline four months away.

Part of that is because they traded John Collins to the Utah Jazz and didn’t acquire a big name to replace him despite efforts to do just that.

The other part is also of their own doing.

“The Grizzlies … need to find a new starting center who can keep them in the playoff hunt until Morant can return,” wrote Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on November 1. “Clint Capela could become available, especially after the Hawks gave backup center Onyeka Okongwu a four-year, $62 million extension that will kick in next season.”

Capela, 29, is in the first year of a two-year, $46 million contract extension he signed in 2020-21 and received from a different front office configuration. He was a staple in trade rumors this offseason with teams like the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans linked to him.

Now in his 10th NBA season, Capela led the league in rebounding in 2020-21, playing a key role in the Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

He is averaging 10.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.0 assists this season.

TRADE: CC for Clarke/LaRavia/2024 first-round pick (top-14 protected)

Hawks might be able to get more for Clint Capela in a trade

Clarke, 27, was the No. 21 overall pick in 2019. He is averaging 10.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this season. A 29% shooter from beyond the arc, Clarke is shooting just 16.7% from distance this season.

LaRavia, who turns 22 years old on November 3, was the No. 19 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

He is averaging 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds this season.

The draft capital is also an interesting conversation since getting a first-round pick back for Capela could be viewed as a win given the Hawks’ current roster composition. And the Grizzlies are a perennial playoff team meaning the likelihood it would convey is high. But, because they are a perennial playoff team, it would be toward the back end of the first round.

That’s not to say the Hawks could find value there – Jalen Johnson was the No. 20 overall pick in 2021. But, with other teams interested in Capela at one point, the Hawks might be able to do better than a pair of potentially useful players and a late first-round pick.

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If they like either Clarke or LaRavia, then they could certainly view a return like this more favorably than it would seem on the surface.

They might just want to hold off to see how things are shaking out for interested teams.

Of course, through four games (an admittedly small sample size), Capela is tied with second-year wing AJ Griffin for eighth on the team with a minus-4.3 net rating. He also has a minus-36.4 efficiency differential, per Cleaning The Glass. That is the worst mark of any Hawks player to see at least 100 minutes this season (outside of garbage time).

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This isn’t a clear-cut decision for the Hawks, no matter which side one takes. Trading Capela is a risk, but one the Hawks have already taken under consideration. What would it take for them to finally pull the trigger on a deal?