The Phoenix Suns are reportedly gearing up to make a major run at Houston Rockets center Clint Capela.
According to Rockets Wire’s Kelly Iko, the Suns are “enamored” with the impending restricted free agent and plan to offer him “a max or near-max contract once free agency begins.”
Capela, 23, will be a restricted free agent assuming the Rockets extend a $4.7 million qualifying offer his way once the postseason ends. After they do, they’ll retain the right to match any offer sheet he signs with a competing club.
Based on the leap he made this season, the Rockets aren’t likely to let Capela walk, regardless of the cost.
In his fourth NBA season, the Swiss center averaged career highs in points (13.9), rebounds (10.8) and blocks (1.9) while shooting a league-leading 65.2 percent from the field.
Capela has kept things humming in the playoffs, too. Through 10 games over the first two rounds, Capela has chipped in 14.4 points, 12.2 boards and 2.8 blocks per game while anchoring a defense that has allowed only 102.1 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com.
“He’s put himself in this position to go out there and play at a high level and do the things that we ask him to do every single night,” Rockets star James Harden said about Capela following the team’s Game 4 second-round win over the Utah Jazz, per ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon. “I mean, he has our back, and it feels good to have somebody have our back like he does. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for it.”
Whether Capela sticks with the Rockets or heads to another squad, it’s clear he’s earned himself a hefty raise over the past year.