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The Houston Rockets want to keep young center Clint Capela and they have a pretty good chance of retaining him due to his restricted free agent status.

“Oh yeah, he’s a restricted free agent so we have a pretty good chance,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said when asked by NBA TV about the possibility of bringing back Capela, who finished runner-up in the Most Improved Player voting.

The Rockets have extended a contract offer of five years worth $85 million. The deal could reach $90 million due to incentives, according to a report by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

While the contract is larger compared to what other centers received in the offseason, the Rockets’ offer pales in comparison with the deals received by Rudy Gobert and Steven Adams.  Gobert signed a four-year, $102 million contract with the Utah Jazz while Adams received a four-year deal worth $100 million from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Capela Wants $100-Million Contract From Rockets

According to Tim McMahon of ESPN, Capela wants a four-year, $100 million deal from the Rockets, similar to what Adams received from the Thunder.

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report noted that Adams signed the $100-million deal after averaging just 8.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Capela, for his part, averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season.

Capela’s presence in the shaded area helped the Rockets finish No. 6 in terms of defense. Aside from his defense, Capela also led the league in field-goal percentage, providing the Rockets with another option on offense.

Hughes said that the Rockets stand to lose more if they allow the 24-year-old Capela to move to another team. Due to his restricted free agent status, the Rockets could match any offer sheet that Capela signs.

If they could not reach a deal, Capela could also decide to sign the Rockets’ qualifying offer of $4.7 million. If he signs, Capela has the right to veto any trade next season and he will become an unrestricted free agent next season.

As the only remaining teams with at least $15 million in salary cap room, the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings could extend offer sheets to Capela. However, they could only offer up to four years.

Capela 2nd In Most Improved Voting

Capela finished runner-up to Victor Oladipo for the NBA Most Improved Award after recording 42 double-doubles last season. It was a significant improvement as Capela tallied a total of 25 double-doubles in his first three seasons in the league,

Aside from leading the NBA in field-goal percentage, Capela finished second in blocked shots per game and eighth in rebounding. He joined Wilt Chamberlain, Artis Gilmore, and Gobert as the only players to average at least 13 points while making at least 65 percent of his shots.

Photo: Keith Allison | Flickr 

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