Hawks acquire center Clint Capela in four-team deal

The Hawks were part of a four-team trade that resulted in their acquisition of Rockets center Clint Capela. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed the deal, first reported by ESPN, that the team announced late Wednesday.

Acquiring a physical, starting-caliber center who can rebound the ball and improve the team’s defense meets a glaring need — the Hawks (13-38), tied with the Cavaliers for the worst record in the Eastern Conference, are 24th in the league in rebounding (42.9 per game) and own the third-worst defensive rating (113.6).

» MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM: Capela would help Hawks now

In 39 games played this season, Capela (6-foot-10, 240 pounds) has averaged 13.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

The trade, which comes ahead of Thursday's 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline, was made official not long after the Hawks' win in Minnesota Wednesday night.

Earlier Wednesday, coach Lloyd Pierce had mentioned that giving the team’s young core a boost was a focus heading into the deadline.

“Understanding and realizing our core young guys as kind of the focal point because they’re under contract beyond this year,” Pierce said. “How do we help them. If it's in the locker room, on the court, positional, it's kind of all-inclusive.”

The move is sure to bolster the Hawks in what has proved to be a disappointing season thus far. After looking to take a step forward from last season’s 29-53 finish, the Hawks got even younger this season and have regressed in terms of wins and losses, with John Collins’ 25-game suspension and injuries to Kevin Huerter playing a big part in that. Lacking a reliable, go-to center was a factor as well.

“Getting Clint, it's big-time,” Trae Young said. “I already shot him a text and talked to him. I’m excited about getting him.”

Capela’s ability to set screens, play defense, roll to the basket and catch lobs stand out to Young, as well as how his presence allows John Collins to stick at power forward and not have to play as much small-ball 5.

“There’s been times late in games where we just couldn’t get a stop,” Young said. “All we needed was one stop. Having (Capela) makes our defense that much better.”

In the deal, the Hawks gave up little-used Evan Turner and a 2020 first-round pick from the Nets, as well as a 2024 second-round pick from the Warriors (in 19 games played this season, Turner averaged 3.3 points in 13.2 minutes). They also acquired Houston center Nene Hilario, who has not played for the Rockets this season.

» MORE: Recent Hawks deadline trades

The team will waive Chandler Parsons as the corresponding move to avoid being over the roster limit. Parsons is owed $25 million on an expiring contract this season, and he has played sparingly and has been out since suffering a concussion and other injuries in an automobile accident last month.

In all, the four-team trade, which includes the Timberwolves and the Nuggets, consists of 12 players:
• The Hawks acquired Capela and Nene.
• The Rockets acquired the Timberwolves' Robert Covington and Jordan Bell.
• The Timberwolves acquired Turner and the Nuggets' Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt.
• The Nuggets acquired the Timberwolves' Shabazz Napier, Keita Bates-Diop, Noah Vonleh and the Rockets' injured Gerald Green.

Capela, 25, has three more years on the five-year, $90 million contract he signed in 2018 after this season that will pay him approximately $16, $17 and $18 million a season, respectively. He has missed three of the past four games with a heel injury. The Hawks shed Turner’s $18.6 million salary of his expiring contract.