Could Hawks playoff run make Clint Capela a Raptors trade target?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 05: Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks on Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 05: Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks on Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors might have made it to the postseason, but they need to make one or two more moves before they can firmly cement themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference. They need someone like Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela to bolster the frontcourt with some size.

While the Raptors are certainly committed to their versatile roster, their lack of defensive rebounding and interior defense has come back to bite them in the butt. While Atlanta giving up a starter like Capela might seem like a long shot, the play-in tournament may have revealed an inconvenient truth about their roster.

With Capela injured, former top draft pick Onyeka Okongwu was able to solidify the paint and lead them to a comeback win against the Cavaliers in the play-in. With Capela looking iffy in Atlanta’s quick playoff exit against the Heat, rumors that he could be on the move may pick up.

With Capela a free agent after this season, the Hawks might decide to simply turn the page on the Capela era and move forward with Okongwu.

This could present an opportunity for the Raptors to get a high-level starter for a relatively cheap price. If the Hawks are motivated sellers and Toronto comes with the right combination of picks and players, they could get the interior presence they have needed for so long.

Could the Toronto Raptors trade for Clint Capela?

Capela has averaged 14.1 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the last four seasons with Atlanta and Houston. While he’s not a versatile offensive threat by any stretch of the imagination, he is still one of the game’s best rebounders and one of the most lethal dunker spot threats in the league.

While Toronto is still committed to their ultra-versatile roster construction, the fact that Khem Birch might be their best traditional big man on the roster is a major cause for alarm. We’ve seen Capela contribute to winning teams for years, which makes it even more unusual that a player of his caliber could be on the move.

The Hawks are perfectly positioned to pull the plug on Capela and move forward with a Collins and Okongwu-led frontcourt. That youth movement and a greater reliance on Trae Young’s individual brilliance could make it easier to part ways with Capela. Toronto would get a difference-maker down in the post as a result.

The Raptors have most of their draft picks over the next decade, giving them more to work with than most playoff teams in the East. If Capela is still effective as a rim protector and willing to be the garbage man who cleans up the boards, Toronto might be able to add a quality starter to a playoff team for pennies on the dollar.

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