The Clint Capela Multi-Team Trade Will Probably Be the Only Fun Thing to Happen at the Trade Deadline
It was nearly one in the morning when the first big NBA trade deadline transaction happened, and it involved four teams. To briefly break it down, the Atlanta Hawks received Clint Capela and Nene, the Houston Rockets received Robert Covington, the Minnesota Timberwolves received Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Evan Turner, and a lottery-protected first-round pick that originally belonged to the Brooklyn Nets, and the Denver Nuggets received Gerald Green and Houston's first-round pick. There were some other tertiary players involved, but those are the main pieces.
All in all, Houston didn't find the center they wanted, but they got a perfect fit for their system in Covington. Atlanta got their center for the foreseeable future, Minnesota got some young pieces for Covington, and the Nuggets got something for said young pieces that they weren't planning to pay this summer anyway. Unfortunately, it's also quite likely this is the most interesting thing to happen at the deadline.
The Hawks and Rockets were the teams most often mentioned in trade rumors so far this week. Houston could still make a deal for a big man to replace Capela, but they don't have the salary to match in a trade for a bigger name. The Hawks finally found the center they've been working for since January, when their name first popped up in Andre Drummond rumors. The Wolves had their fingers crossed (along with the rest of us here for the entertainment value) for a D'Angelo Russell blockbuster, but that's out the window now. It was a poorly-kept secret that the Nuggets wanted to move Beasley and Hernangomez, but now that they're gone, Denver won't be making another move.
Sure, the Grizzlies could move Andre Iguodala, especially after the young players didn't hold back in their opinions about Iguodala's business decision to sit out, but if they don't get the price they want, it wouldn't be a shock to see them stand pat. They have so far, and all they're losing is money if they don't move him. The Lakers aren't going to send out Kyle Kuzma unless they get an impact wing player in return, and Kuzma's stock isn't particularly high as it stands. The Kings won't move Bogdan Bogdanović for anything less than a first and a decent young player. The Pistons don't have any players who would make or break a team's championship hopes even if they do unload any potential asset in the pursuit of a tank.
There are still good players who could be acquired before Thursday, don't get me wrong. But the best teams don't have the expendable assets to make a move for such players, and those same players aren't quite good enough for a middling team to give up their best assets to make a deal. This isn't last year, with the Anthony Davis saga hanging over everyone's heads, or even the year before, when the Pistons landed Blake Griffin and the Cavaliers traded almost everyone not named LeBron James.
The Capela trade is complicated and entertaining, with no clear loser from every side. Sadly, it's probably the best we're going to get.