It has been evident that the Atlanta Hawks plan on using their cap space elsewhere than the free agency market. However, they are being presented with an opportunity and a talent that could be too good to pass up.
The Houston Rockets have reportedly low-balled restricted free agent big man Clint Capela, only offering him a 4-year, $60 million deal. Capela is coming off a breakout season with the Rockets, who were the one seed in the West.
Cap space is scarce nowadays, and teams are being significantly more conservative with their capital than they were a couple seasons ago when everyone was getting paid. The Hawks seemed to be going into this offseason with the intention of using this cap space to take on bad deals and acquire draft capital.
Now, they are in a situation where they have total leverage and are the only team that can offer Capela the type of deal he wants. Without renounced rights, the Hawks are the only team in positive cap space. They can clear up to $22.3 million of cap space if need be.
The Hawks are also such a young team that adding Capela would not affect their tanking plans and gives them more lottery tickets to use draft assets on without having to draft for need.
The Rockets can still match any offer made, but they are clearly hesitant to pay Capela what he is worth on the open market right now. The Hawks could build a young twin towers of sorts in John Collins and Capela, who could serve as the ultimate pawns for newly drafted playmaker Trae Young.
This would give them a young player with upside at every position on the roster and still possess potentially three more first rounders next summer.
The ball in in Atlanta’s court. It is time for Travis Schlenk to pick up the phone.