Clint Capela

Report: Rockets won’t extend Clint Capela’s contract

Leave a comment

Playing with James Harden and Chris Paul, Clint Capela is in line for a breakout season. The Rockets’ young center will be a primary lob target for the point guards, and Capela’s interior defense and rebounding will cover for the skilled players behind him.

But Capela’s big payday must wait.

Today is the deadline for rookie-scale contract extension, and Capela reportedly won’t get one.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Rockets center Clint Capela will become a restricted free agent next off-season, a person with knowledge of the Rockets’ plans said.

The Rockets risk Capela improving his stock and earning more money than he would’ve gotten now, but they gain flexibility.

Capela will count just $7,003,585 against the cap next summer until signed or renounced. If he signed an extension, he would’ve immediately counted at his 2017-18 salary, which surely would’ve been higher. This way, Houston can conduct its other business then exceed the salary cap to re-sign Capela using his Bird Rights.

This is also a hedge with new owner Tilman Fertitta’s luxury-tax reluctance. Three Rockets starters will be free agents next summer – Paul, Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela. Re-signing all three could be quite costly, but without Capela locked in, letting him walk in order to keep other players is at least on the table.

And, of course, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony can all become free agents next summer. With Paul already in Houston, this also facilitates the the tantalizing possibility of a banana-boat reunion there.

With no offer on table, Jusuf Nurkic expects to be restricted free agent next summer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

What is center Jusuf Nurkic‘s value on the open market?

He certainly has value to the Trail Blazers. He played 20 games for them after Portland traded for him, and he averaged 15.2 points 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2 blocks per game. More importantly, Portland was 9.7 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court and went 14-6 in that stretch.

Nurkic is eligible for a contract extension, but for Portland that’s a small sample size on which to base a big contract, even if you ignore potential health concerns. The two sides talked, but no deal appears forthcoming, and Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports reports Nurkic is ready to enter restricted free agency next season.

Barring a dramatic change in talks, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic plans on entering restricted free agency next summer as no contract extension offer has been made, league sources told The Vertical.

Three comments on this:

First, this is exactly what an agent trying to push for a deal says off the record to try and push the organization (and scare the fan base a little). I don’t doubt Charnia or his sources, the sides likely are nowhere near a deal, but know that every sourced story is somebody spinning something. Here, the motive seems fairly transparent.

Second, Nurkic has looked to be, and may prove to be, a vital part of the Trail Blazers core going forward — and Portland may be willing to pay big to keep him. We mentioned the raw numbers, but more important than his ability to fit with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum on offense (and he does), he made a terrible defensive team better. That’s how the Blazers take a step forward, and he can be part of it.

Third, and this may be the biggest factor as to why there is no deal, next summer is going to be a very tight free agent market, especially for big men. Only about half a dozen teams (maybe a couple more) will have max money to spend, and only a few will need a center. On that market, as unrestricted free agents will be DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan (unless he and the Clippers reach a deal over the weekend, which is unlikely), Greg Monroe, and Nerlens Noel, plus restricted free agents Nikola Jokic and Clint Capela. And those are just the big names. That’s a lot more supply than demand. Much like Noel and others found out the hard way this summer, there are bigs who will expect to bet paid and be very disappointed with the market for their services. Portland understands the market and may be making offers to Nurkic accordingly.

Houston Rockets sell for record $2.2 billion

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
10 Comments

Update: The Rockets have announced the sale:

The Houston Rockets today announced that a definitive agreement has been signed for the purchase of the NBA franchise by Houston businessman Tilman J. Fertitta, sole owner of the Landry’s restaurant empire and Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels. The transaction, which includes operation of the Toyota Center Arena, requires the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, and Mr. Fertitta has no other partners in connection with the transaction.

This process started back in July, and it is truly unfortunate that this announcement is occurring amidst the aftermath of one of the biggest tragedies in the history of our great City.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen as the next owner of the Houston Rockets.  This is a life-long dream come true,” said Fertitta, a native of Galveston and life-long resident of the Houston area.  “Leslie Alexander has been one of the best owners in all of sports, and I thank him immensely for this opportunity. He has the heart of a champion.    Lastly, out of respect for the NBA’s approval process, I can say no more other than I am overwhelmed with emotion to have this opportunity in my beloved city of Houston.”

“I am excited to welcome and pass the torch to Tilman. He is a Houstonian, business leader and committed to the success and excellence of the Rockets both on and off the basketball court,” said Leslie Alexander, the current Rockets owner.  “I have personally known Tilman for over 24 years and don’t think I could have found anyone more capable of continuing the winning tradition of our Houston Rockets.”

 

In 2014, Steve Ballmer paid a stunning $2 billion to buy the Clippers.

That record price for an NBA franchise has been broken.

Marc Berman of Fox 26:

Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg

Leslie Alexander selling the Rockets surprised everyone. But apparently Tilman Fertitta wasn’t slow to react – to the benefit of Alexander, who bought the team for $85 million in 1993.

Fertitta – who owns Golden Nugget Casinos and Landry’s restaurant company and hosts “Billion Dollar Buyer” on CNBC – is worth $3.1 billion, per Forbes. So, it seems likely he’ll have other investors. Celebrities like Beyonce and Hakeem Olajuwon have expressed interest.

The Rockets have been one of the NBA’s best teams under Alexander, winning championships in 1994 and 1995, and he further ingrained himself with the community with his Hurricane Harvey-relief donations. The team locked in James Harden to the richest contract extension in NBA history. Chris Paul will be eligible for a five-year, $207 million max contract next summer, and starting center Clint Capela will also be a free agent. With expensive but not easily movable Ryan Anderson still under contract, this team could get expensive in a hurry.

After years of steady leadership from Alexander, we’ll quickly learn Fertitta’s ownership style.

Houston will wait to see how next season plays out before talking new Chris Paul deal

3 Comments

Houston has set itself up to be the most dangerous challenger to Golden State this season. With James Harden and now Chris Paul, they have a backcourt that can rival the Warriors. Houston has a system, it has shooting, and this offseason GM Daryl Morey made smart acquisitions getting wing defenders — such as Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker — who can help against the Warriors.

Yet there are questions. Can Paul and Harden play together and share the rock? Can the other players adapt to playing around them? Can key players such as Clint Capela take a step forward? Will this team defend well enough?

With all that, the Rockets are going to wait until next summer to talk to CP3 about a new contract and being patient, Morey told Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated.

“We’ve had high-level discussions [with Paul about his future],” Morey told The Crossover, noting that Harden’s recent $228 million extension provides a “signaling aspect” to other stars that Houston caters to its marquee players. “[Paul] hopes to continue with Houston. He likes the team, the organization and the city. In terms of him actually signing long-term, that’s something that won’t be decided until next year.”

With Ryan Anderson at three-years, $60 million left on his deal and Eric Gordon at three-years, $39.5 million, signing Paul to a max — and he will demand a max contract — would send the Rockets into the tax. The smart move is to wait and see how this season plays out, then make a call.

This is a situation where, because the team is a contender, most owners will be okay with paying the larger bill to keep the team together. However, we don’t know who the new ownership group in Houston will be, or what they will prioritize and authorize. Most likely though Morey will have permission to spend.

And if this works he will spend big on Paul (then look for savings elsewhere). Top 10 NBA talent is hard to come by.

Report: Carmelo Anthony willing to waive $8 million trade kicker for Rockets

Getty Images
3 Comments

Carmelo Anthony does not want to return to the Knicks. The Knicks want to trade Carmelo Anthony. The Houston Rockets would like to trade for Carmelo Anthony.

So far all that will has not gotten a deal nearly as close to done as has been reported, I was told by sources. There are major hurdles, and the Knicks don’t like the offers they’ve gotten so far, which is why they pulled back (not because of the Scott Perry hiring or some desire to change Anthony’s mind). As has been reported before, Anthony is willing to waive his no trade clause for the right team to get the deal done, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on The Jump.

“My sources tell me he’s willing to waive the trade kicker, which is worth around $8 million, so that makes a little easier for Houston to do a trade.”

That’s nice. It doesn’t solve the core problem with a Rockets’ trade.

The Rockets are over the cap so the only way this trade gets done is they send out enough salary to match and create space for Anthony. The Rockets could do that with a combination of Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and some expiring deals, but that cuts way too deeply into the roster and hurts the Rockets more than it helps. What the Rockets need to do in this trade is move Ryan Anderson, and his three-years, $60 million — except the Knicks don’t want that contract on their books (even though Anderson is a good player when healthy). So now the two sides are trying to find a third team that would take on Anderson’s contract, but the Rockets are going to have to give up sweeteners — a couple first round picks or a pick and a quality young player — that they don’t have to get the deal done. So enter a fourth team to get the sweeteners, but that team will want things back, and quickly the house of cards falls apart.

On top of all that, the Knicks still don’t think they’re getting enough back in the trade to want to do it. Yet, anyway.

Over on the left coast, there is Portland saying “look at us, look at us!” They would be willing to trade for Anthony, as C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard have made clear.

One massive problem with that: Anthony has not been interested in waiving his no trade clause for anyone but Cleveland and Houston.

If he changes his mind — and that’s a huge, unlikely “if” — maybe a deal could be found. The Blazers already have a top-five payroll in the NBA (may be top two when all is said and done) and that means they have to send out salary as well, someone like Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard (moving Allen Crabbe is the dream, but also highly unlikely). The Knicks could have interest in Turner, the Blazers have picks to throw in, and if a third team picked up Leonard maybe we’re close to something. But until Anthony makes it clear he would accept a trade to Portland, something he has yet to do, this is all a moot exercize.

But hey, Anthony will waive his trade kicker. So there’s that.