Report: Clint Capela To Become Restricted Free Agent

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has reported that Rockets center Clint Capela will enter Restricted Free Agency after the upcoming season. Today is the deadline for the rookie scale contract extension, and the Rockets will wait to work on a deal until next summer.

Capela is entering his fourth season in the NBA. He averaged 12.6 PPG and 8.1 PPG, which were career highs. He has made improvements in his game each season. Although his free throw percentage last season was low at 53.1%, it was an improvement from 37.9% the season before. Once Dwight Howard left the team in 2016, Capela was going to be the big man of the future to work alongside James Harden. Harden and Capela work well with the lob coming off the pick and roll. With Chris Paul now in a Rockets uniform, Capela is expected to take another massive step in his development this year. He will have more lobs opportunities than he's ever seen in his career. There's also an off-chance he's in the running for the Most Improved Player Award.

While most would expect Capela to work out a new deal with the team next summer, there still could be some doubt. One of the biggest weaknesses in his game is his conditioning, as he was only able to play around 25 minutes a game last season. As an athletic big who can run the floor well, he will need to work on being able to stay on the floor more. Getting his minutes up to 30 a game would make a difference.

Also, the Rockets will be up against the luxury tax this summer and there's real questions as to whether new owner Tilmann Fertita is willing to pay for Capela's new deal along with a newly minted contract for star free agent Chris Paul. However, general manager Daryl Morey is one who values cap flexibility and the Rockets seldom hand out rookie extensions.

There's a chance Capela tests the market next summer and signs an offer sheet with another team. But with that, the Rockets will still have leverage as they can match any offer sheet he signs. For the time being, Capela looks to be happy in Houston and the team has stated time and time again how much they value him.

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