Rockets Reach 5yr/$90M Deal With Clint Capela
One of the biggest question marks this deep into the offseason for the Houston Rockets was the status of their budding star center, Clint Capela. Those concerns finally came to an end today with a 5yr/$90M contract.
The end of the season brought with it the end of Capela's rookie contract, and put him on the market as a Restricted Free Agent (RFA). As an RFA, other teams that didn't draft Clint would be allowed to offer him any size contract up to his max limit to lure him away from Houston. However, the Rockets retain the right to match any offer Clint may have decided to sign.
This particular summer has seen a dried up market, as most teams were playing very tight with the limited cap space out there. This was advantageous for Houston, who had less competition for what should be a very desirable player, but not so great for Capela, who had less leverage when it came to negotiations.
The Rockets initially offered a deal of $80M over 5 years. Capela was hoping to get a max offer of about $28M annually from Houston or anyone else. Unfortunately for him, teams used their cap space elsewhere and hope for a larger deal was slim.
Capela always had the option of taking a one year qualifying offer ($4.7M) to become an Unrestricted Free Agent next summer when teams should have more money to throw around. This was concerning for the Rockets, as it would be a sign of serious turbulence in his relationship with the team.
Finally, the news broke today that Capela would be signing a $90M contract over the course of years. While more than the original offer, this is still a great team deal. The Rockets got him below his true market value, and made a good faith move of another $10M to end negotiations on friendly terms.
On Clint's end, it avoids the stress of risking the QO. That means he would have to seriously show out this season to MAYBE get a deal that makes up for the missing $10M+ from this first year. It also means he'll enter free agency again at age 28, when most players are in their primes. He can get a guaranteed $90M now and come back for more when he's at his best later.
The Rockets now have a locked in core of Harden, Paul, and Capela for the next 5 years. Add in Carmelo Anthony, PJ Tucker, and whichever other shooters Morey pulls out of thin air, and the Rockets should be cooking into the distant future.