Last season, the Atlanta Hawks defense was 8.5 points per 100 possessions better when Clint Capela was on the court (he finished sixth in Defensive Player of the Year voting). Capela also scored 15.2 points a game while shooting 59.4%, and pulled down a team-best 14.3 rebounds a game. His defense and overall play were key reasons the Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.
All of which are good reasons to lock him up.
Atlanta agreed to a two-year, $46 million extension with Capela, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and soon after confirmed by the team (it should be noted that $4 million of that $46 million is in incentives he may not reach). Capela already was under contract for the next two seasons at $35.3 million, how he is tied to the Hawks through the 2025 season.
“Clint is one of the premier defensive and rebounding big men in the league. His presence in the paint and voice on defense had a tremendous impact on our success last season,” Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “He is a great teammate who leads by example and we are excited to have him as a part of our team long-term.”
This is a good deal for the Hawks. They get Capela — who is critical to their success — at about the going rate for his level of center. It also means Atlanta is locked into this core with Trae Young, John Collins, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, which reached the Eastern Conference Finals this season but will find the road tougher in the future in an improved East.
Atlanta now has close to $100M in committed salary in 2023-24 to 4 players: Trae Young, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Capela.
Upcoming decisions include rookie extensions for:
– Kevin Huerter (now)
– Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter (next offseason)
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) September 1, 2021
It will be interesting to see what this extension means for Onyeka Okongwu, the No. 6 pick a year ago. He played 50 games for the Hawks last season and has a lot of developing still to do, but now he will do all of that in the shadow of Capela.