HOUSTON – For several days, rumors had swirled around the Houston Rockets and their apparent desire to move center Clint Capela in a deal. Late Tuesday night, that happened.
The 25-year-old center was sent to Atlanta in a four-team trade.
KPRC 2 Sports has confirmed Houston will land coveted wing defender Robert Covington and reserve big man Jordan Bell from Minnesota in the deal. The trade was first reported by The Athletic and ESPN.
As part of the deal, the Rockets also traded Nene and Gerald Green - neither of whom has played in a game this season due to injury. A Rockets first-round pick was also sent out as the team tried to reconfigure the roster on the fly at the trade deadline, yet again. The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday at 2 p.m.
Covington is considered one of the league’s better perimeter defenders and was a 1st team all-defense selection in 2017-18 with the Timberwolves. That season he led the league in deflections and defensive win shares among players that played in at least 70 of his team’s games. Covington is shooting just 34.6% on three-pointers this season, which is slightly below his career figure of 35.8%. In the last two seasons, Covington shot 37.8% and 36.9%, respectively from beyond the arc.
Covington is a 29-year old who returns to Houston where he began his NBA career in when the Rockets signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NBA draft. He spent one season in Houston before being waived just prior to the following season. He signed a four-year, $52 million contract with Philadelphia prior to the 2017-18 season. He is owed roughly $25 million over the final two seasons of that deal, which expires after the 2021-22 season.
Bell was a reserve center with the Timberwolves and averaged less than 10 minutes per game. However, his 11.9 rebounds per 36 minutes were actually second on the team, higher than Karl Anthony-Towns, which were 11.2 per 36 minutes.
Capela was having an excellent season, though he had missed several games recently with a sore right heel. He was averaging 13.9 points per game and a career-best 13.8 rebounds per game, which ranked fourth in the league. Houston was 10-1 in the 11 games he missed this season.