2014 NBA Draft: Houston Rockets Take Clint Capela in Salary Cap-Inspired Move

By Brendan Murray
Clint Capela
Brad Penner-USA Today Sports

With the 25th pick in the 2014 NBA draft, the Houston Rockets took Swiss PF Clint Capela. In layman’s terms, the Rockets took Capela with the 25th pick in the NBA draft in order to save cap space.

Now, GM and certified basketball genius Daryl Morey surely has a reason for doing this. He’s far too savvy to take a player like Capela without having a plan, a strategy for what to do with him. More than likely, Rockets fans won’t see him in Houston next season, and maybe even the season after that.

So then what is Morey’s plan?

More than likely, he is trying to keep as much cap space open as possible for the upcoming free agent rush. Capela will more than likely be playing in Europe for at least the next season, which means the Rockets will not have to pay him or count his contract against their cap. Considering that the Rockets fancy themselves serious conteders to secure Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, or one of the other big name free agents this year, it’s a move that does make sense.

However, the Rockets took a big risk here. There’s always a chance that European players stay in Europe rather than making the jump to the NBA, and losing a first round pick is never a good thing. Houston also could have taken P.J. Hairston with this pick and received a player with professional playing experience.

Assuming Capela does eventually play in Houston, he’ll bring a dose of athleticism and defense to  the Rockets. He’s a flawed prospect however, as his shot leaves plenty to be desired and he needs to bulk up in order to compete against other NBA big men.

Morey is never one to improvise, so he clearly has a plan for this unknown European prospect, most likely to use his cap space on a free agent this year. If they can secure a free agent and bring Capela over after he has refined his game, this could be a great move for Houston.

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