Welcome to the offseason, NBA fans. Now that the Finals are over and the Golden State Warriors are the champions of the league again, it’s time to look ahead. That means we’ll be breaking down free agent profiles all week. And while we’ll get to the big fish next week, it’s all about the positional breakdowns this week. Starting tomorrow, that is. First, however, comes our restricted free agents. Let’s just say there are multiple interesting scenarios presenting themselves…
Especially Aaron Gordon.
The overwhelming expectation with Capela is that the Rockets will match any offer for him. What will be interesting to see is what sort of contract Capela seeks out in restricted free agency. There are three scenarios to consider. The first is that he simply takes a four- or five-year deal at around the max from the Rockets, likely delayed as the last move of their offseason to keep his low cap hold on the books long enough to make other moves.
The second is that Houston lowballs him. If that is the case, someone is going to give him a max offer sheet. Four teams in the top five of the NBA Draft have the ability to create max cap space. One of them is going to end up drafting a non-center, at which point Capela becomes an interesting player to pursue. Brooklyn could find its way into the chase if it wanted to. There will be a very large contract out there for him, it’s just a matter of what kind of offer that is.
Capela could go for the most security possible with a four-year offer sheet. Or, he could put pressure on the Rockets with a two-year offer sheet that comes with a third-year player option. That is how the Mavericks stole Chandler Parsons once upon a time. The Rockets wouldn’t want to risk Capela hitting unrestricted free agency in two years, so that might be enough to coax them into giving him a five-year deal.
But the real danger would come in Capela’s next deal lasting three seasons. That would send him into unrestricted free agency after his seventh season, in the summer of 2021. His max would jump from 25% of the salary to 30% of a presumably higher cap. That makes extra years beneficial to Houston. It locks them into salaries signed before Capela can earn even more in his next contract cycle. And if Houston forces Capela to get that contract from another team, there might be enough bad blood to get him to leave when he has the chance.