The perfect Lakers trade offer for Clint Capela
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Atlanta Hawks are reportedly open to “almost anything” at the trade deadline.
The Hawks (15-21) have struggled this year, and most of their players are on the trading block as a result. This could greatly benefit the Lakers, who will look to be buyers at the deadline.
The Lakers (19-19) have many factors behind their inconsistent play this year, including a constant change in rotations, erratic guard play, and some unfortunate injury luck.
However, some may argue that their biggest weakness has been the lack of a consistent center option behind Anthony Davis.
Trae Young and Jalen Johnson are the only two untouchable players on the Hawks, per @JakeLFischer— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) January 5, 2024
“Of late, Atlanta has informed numerous teams the only untouchable players on the Hawks’ roster are Young and rising third-year forward Jalen Johnson, sources said.”
While Christian Wood has provided a respectable 7.4 ppg and has shown the ability to stretch the floor, he is not a defensive presence in the paint.
Additionally, Jaxson Hayes has been a non-factor in the rotation and is mainly used as a lob threat.
A player on the Hawks who could help fill that void for the Lakers is starting center Clint Capela. Capela has been a reliable big man for the Hawks this season, averaging 12/11/1 while shooting at a 58% clip. He is also averaging a career-high 67% from the free throw line and puts up 1.7 blocks per game.
Capela has been the epitome of consistency throughout his career, having averaged at least 12 and 10 in seven of his ten seasons.
The 29-year-old is widely recognized as one of the game's best interior defenders and rebounders, including in the 2021 season, where he was the NBA’s rebounding leader.
In addition to being reliable on the court, Capela is also reliably ON the court, having played in at least 63 games in seven of his ten seasons.
This is a massive bonus for the Lakers, as they would still have a threat at the center position in case Anthony Davis has to miss any time.
That said, here is the perfect Lakers trade offer for Clint Capela.
"Right now it sounds like the Hawks are truly considering the idea of being a real seller. Taking a step back and maybe even getting a couple extra lottery balls this year..."— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) January 6, 2024
(h/t @BasketballOnX ) pic.twitter.com/5hpGHytQm0
Hawks receive: Rui Hachimura, a 2024 second-round pick (via LAC), and a 2025 second-round pick
Lakers receive: Clint Capela
*Note: Trade is ineligible until January 15th, as Rui Hachimura re-signed this offseason using Bird Rights.
In this trade, the Lakers would sacrifice part of their young core to acquire Capela, who has two years left on his deal.
While Hachimura has been a solid contributor during his time with the Lakers, the reality is that a backup center is a much bigger need for this team than a forward.
The Lakers already have plenty of forward depth with Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Jarred Vanderbilt. While Hachimura would lead to a drop-off in scoring from the unit, Capela is averaging the same ppg as him while also contributing 10+ rebounds a game.
From the Hawks's perspective, Hachimura may initially seem like a weird fit, as they already have De’Andre Hunter on the team.
However, the Hawks are expected to look into trades for everyone on the roster who is not named Trae Young, with Hunter being one of their more valuable pieces.
If the Hawks end up dealing Hunter, then Hachimura would give the Hawks a similar skillset to replace him and simultaneously maximize their value.