Houston Rockets: Clint Capela will earn each incentive in his $90M deal

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 29: Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 29: Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have signed Clint Capela to a five-year, $90 million deal but what are some of the incentives embedded within? Let’s take a look.

The Houston Rockets were finally able to re-sign Clint Capela a few weeks ago after what seemed like a eternity of a standoff from his camp in regard to reaching an agreement with the team that drafted him.

After all of those rumors of Capela receiving a mega-deal and that the franchise would likely lose him as a result, those have been shot down as he’s right back where he needs to be — as a member of the Houston Rockets.

Although he said this publicly, I do believe he wanted to be back with the Houston Rockets and nobody else but the nuances of free agency could’ve easily been able to force him to part ways so that he fetch the money bags he had been seeking since he entered the league five seasons ago.

In a sense, the Houston Rockets were fortunate that LeBron James decided to opt-out of his final year with the Cleveland Cavaliers as he became the biggest blue chip on the market.  There’s no question that Daryl Morey was in pursuit of the mega-star but LeBron’s heart obviously was with signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As soon as that important domino fell, the others fell into place and teams realized that with all of the spending they had done when the salary cap ballooned as a result of the Association’s new television deal three seasons ago, that they didn’t have as much money as envisioned to give to Capela.

The salary cap has barely edged up since that time and teams with superior cash flows are hoarding their cash and spending it wisely while they rebuild their teams of the future.  I’d have to say the Sacramento Kings are the lone exception because they seem to always be in rebuilding mode and I honestly don’t know what the hell they’re doing over there.

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I’ve got to give kudos where it’s due to Vlade Divac for continuing to pull the wool over my eyes — as well as many NBA-faithful fans — each and every season that he’s the president of basketball operations for that franchise.  Well at least fans have a brand spanking-new downtown arena to enjoy for the time being.

But anyway, let’s cut to the chase.  Did you know that the inner-workings of Capela’s deal is laced with a ton of cool incentives?  It’s honestly how they were able to get to $90 million total for the five-year term when the contract is actually guaranteed for $80 million.  It’s a neat concept that both sides agreed to and Capela has bet on himself to earn the remaining $10 million of the deal that he signed.

According to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, here some of the items included in the deal:

  • A $1 million per year incentive if Capela plays 2,000 minutes or more or if the team reaches the Western Conference Finals
  • A $500K pot-sweetener for playing 2,000 minutes or more and a defensive rebound percentage of 30 or greater
  • An additional $500K provocation for taking at least 150 free throws or more and nailing them at least at a 65 percent clip

The first two incentives Capela should get quite easily if he stays healthy as Capela netted 2,034 minutes, the team made the Western Conference Finals and his defensive rebounding percentage was a 30.8.

But it may be tougher for Capela to hit the mark on the third incentive.  Although he attempted

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257 free throws last season, he only shot 56 percent from the charity stripe so he’s got plenty of work to do this off season to get better at this important metric.  He would help the team a ton if he increased his free throw percentage by nine percent.

It certainly sounds like he needs to seek the services of Hakeem Olajuwon who started off his career as a terrible free-throw shooter but ended his career quite reliable from the line through his prime.

After starting off his career shooting 61.3 percent from the line, he dramatically improved his marksmanship starting with the 1990-91 season and stayed above 70 percent — his career-high was 78.7 percent in the 1996-97 season — until 1999-00 where his production as a whole started to decline before retiring just two seasons later.

Capela can hit each and every one of those incentives and I’m positive that he’ll put the work in so this will be an important thing to keep your eyes peeled for throughout the season Houston Rockets fans, I know I will be watching as well.

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Capela, 24, averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks off 65.2 percent shooting from the field last season, all career-highs.