Peter On The Hot Seat: Richer by the Dozen

The NBA’s largest trade in 20 years took place late Tuesday night involving four teams and  12 players changing teams. The biggest name involved was Clint Capela, who was traded from Houston to Atlanta.

Houston Rockets: 

It is safe to say the initial reaction to this trade is, who is going to play center for the Rockets?

Right now it seems that it will be PJ Tucker, while the Rockets search the trade market for a center.

When looking at this trade it seems clear that General Manager for the Rockets Daryl Morey is willing to try anything to have a chance at a title run.

The Rockets want to play fast and shoot as many three’s as possible. One problem they faced this season is that their main lineup had two players, who don’t shoot 3-pointers well. Russell Westbrook shooting 23.4 3P% and Clint Capela, who has yet to shoot a three.

The Rockets acquiring Westbrook this summer and his massive contract have made him unmovable. That made the safe bet that Capela would be the one on the move.

Before the trade, The Rockets were ranked 21st in the NBA in 3-point percentage, but first in 3-pointers made and attempted. This shows that they needed to make a move that would more benefit their style of play. 

The Strategy of the move makes sense with the Rockets having a crunch time lineup of Westbrook, Harden, Gordon, Covington and Tucker. This lineup will create a ton of space for Westbrook and Harden to drive also forcing bigs to decide to go to guard on the perimeter or stay near the paint.

The obvious problem is the Rockets lack of height especially in a conference that has Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert.
 The Rockets rank fifth in rebounds a game this season, which is thanks in part to Capela’s 13.8 RPG. The Rockets also rank 26th in opponents rebounds this season and give up 46 per game. 

The Rockets need a center, who can give them 15-20 minutes a game. If they can find this person whether they are on their team already or not they will reap the rewards from this risky trade.

The Current bigs on their roster are Tyson Chandler, Isaiah Hartenstein (last year’s G-League Finals MVP) and Jordan Bell. Chandler was the perfect center to fill this role about five years ago, but now at 37-years-old there are a lot question marks if he can play that long. Bell has played big minutes in the NBA Finals before, but lacks the height at 6’8 to guard Centers in the West. That leaves Isaiah Hartenstein, who lacks the experience of playing meaningful NBA minutes. 

The Rockets added a familiar 3-and-D wing in Robert Covington, who Played 7 games for them in 2013-2014 and also was apart of their G-League affiliate the Rio Grande Vipers. Covington will relish playing for the Rockets as he shoots 6.5 3-pointers a game. Although, so far this season he has struggled with his 3P% dropping from 37% to 34%.

Daryl Morey has been one of the top General Managers in the NBA and has done it by breaking the status quo. This move is a prime example of that.

Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks finally got their center, after months and months of trade rumors. The addition of Capela feels like a match made in Basketball heaven. Capela can still be the rim running, shot blocking, alley-oop catching, son of a gun, (woooooooooo *ric flair voice) he has always been.

Trae Young is one of the top passers in the NBA and is second in assists at 9 per game. This will make Capela feel right at home playing with another elite guard in a pick-and-roll offense. The most important part of the move is Capela will give the Hawks a much needed defensive anchor. Atlanta opponents average 118 PPG, which is second most behind the Washington Wizards.

The Hawks won’t make the playoffs this year, but they are ready to fly into the future with their young core of Young, Huerter, Hunter, Collins and Capela.  The toughest part of the trade for Atlanta is giving up the Nets pick, but Atlanta is already full of young talent.

Minnesota Timberwolves: 

This tweet might say everything you need to know about the trade for Minnesota.

Karl Anthony-Towns didn’t seem that happy with Minnesota before the trade and now because of his instagram story it looks like it made it worse.

This trade further signifies that it is rebuild time in Minnesota, but will they have enough time to turn it around before Karl Anthony-Towns wants to leave town?

This Instagram post might be the first major sign that Towns will take the same path as Former Timberwolves Stars Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love

The assets they received aren’t bad with a good young scorer in Malik Beasley and another good shooter in Juan Hernangomez.  Plus they got the Nets first round pick, which gives them more draft flexibility. Beasley will need a new contract this summer as he is set to become a restricted free agent
The most interesting part of the Trade is Houston and Minnesota’s problems are polar opposite with a  giant question mark at point guard for the Timberwolves. The only point guard on Minnesota’s roster is two-way player Jordan McLaughlin.

The Timberwolves will have to look to Jarrett Culver, Andrew Wiggins and possibly Evan Turner for ball handling duties. But, the lack of point guard depth isn’t as big of a priority right now as they seem to be out of the playoff hunt.

The last thing to think about for the Timberwolves is that they turned Lauri Markkanen and Zach Lavine into Jarrett Culver, Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt and the 2020 Brooklyn Nets first round pick.

Denver Nuggets:

There is not a lot to say about the Nuggets side of things other than they traded Beasley after months of rumors. They also added a first round pick and another ball handler in Shabazz Napier. None of the moves seem to seriously factor into the Nuggets rotation. 
Now that the first real domino of the NBA trade deadline has fallen all we can do is sit back,  relax and turn on are twitter notifications for Woj and Shams.

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