Analysis of four-team trade: Covington to Rockets, Capela to Hawks

The biggest NBA trade in almost 20 years took place on Tuesday night. As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Clint Capela heads to the Atlanta Hawks, Robert Covington to the Houston Rockets.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets are also involved in the deal.

Juan Hernangomez and Malik Beasley are swapping the Nuggets for Timberwolves. Evan Turner and Jarred Vanderbilt will be joining them in Minnesota.

Shabazz Napier, Keita Bates-Diop, Gerald Green and Noah Vonleh are heading to Denver. Nene will be joining Capela in Atlanta. Jordan Bell is going to Houston to give depth in the frontcourt.

The Rockets will receive a 2024 second-round pick in the deal. The Timberwolves get the highly valuable first-rounder belonging to Atlanta in 2020 and the Nuggets have acquired Houston’s first-round pick this year.

Timberwolves load up for Russell

Minnesota get a great pick and young players. The pick may be used in a possible D’Angelo Russell trade, and Beasley could be desirable for the Golden State Warriors, too. If not, Beasley – a talented wing – could be a good piece to extend this summer and fit alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Timberwolves are looking to quickly retool around Towns. After hope early in the season, they have gone on an historic slide. Towns’ frustrations are clear, and the Timberwolves continue to pursue Russell after missing out on him in free agency.

Atlanta’s pick, if a Russell deal doesn’t come to fruition, opens options for the T-Wolves’ front office. It could be flipped for a different point guard in the summer or bring in a cost-controlled top-end young talent through the draft.


Rockets commit to super-small

P.J. Tucker will be getting the majority of minutes at the five in Capela’s absence. Houston recently became the first team since 1963 to play an entire NBA game without using a player over 6’6″.

Covington provides another three-and-D wing. He’s shooting under 35% from deep this season, however, a mark that may improve with the playmaking of Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Bell gives an athletic rim-running option and (a bit of) size at the five. This is extreme Rockets basketball. Despite recent success, it’s hard to imagine line-ups this small working against the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz or Nuggets in the postseason.

Perhaps most crucially for ownership, this has got Houston below the tax. They have cap space to make further deals too. Their decisions over the next 24 hours or so will give us an indication of the Rockets’ financial restrictions.

With Daryl Morey’s hyperactivity, it would be a surprise if this is the Rockets’ roster as they head to the playoffs.

Nuggets open up possibilities

Denver have been linked with a Jrue Holiday trade. Gary Harris has been made available. The Nuggets could be about to swing a big trade before the deadline, possibly using Houston’s 2020 first-rounder.

The loss of Beasley hurts, but with free agency coming up, it seemed unlikely he would still be on the team come 2020/21. Napier, Vonleh and Bates-Diop are serviceable NBA players for Mike Malone to utilise down the stretch.

The Nuggets’ involvement in this four-team deal cannot be properly evaluated until we see how they follow it up.

Atlanta get their big

Whether John Collins gets moved or not, the Hawks have decided he belongs at the four with this move. Capela will become their starting center, giving Trae Young an ideal pick-and-roll partner. A lob threat and shot blocker, Capela should slot right into Atlanta’s offence.

The Hawks moved away from Andre Drummond. Considering the age and contracts, Capela makes much more sense. They have their young wings, an All-Star point guard and a pick-and-roll center. Atlanta are set – they could yet trade Collins ahead of a difficult-to-judge extension.

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About Sam Cox 457 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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