Hawks, Clint Capela agree to contract extension

Published September 2, 2021, 7:30 AMNBA.com News Services

The Hawks and their defensive-minded center have agreed to a reported 2-year extension.

The Atlanta Hawks agreed to a contract extension with center Clint Capela, the team announced on Wednesday.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year, $46-million extension for Capela, who had two years left on his current contract and is now under contract through the 2024-25 season.

The Hawks picked up Capela during the 2019-20 season, but he never played a game in that campaign as he recovered from a nagging foot injury. Last season was his first with the Hawks and he stepped in nicely, averaging 15.2 points per game and an NBA-leading 14.3 rebounds per game. He also added 2.0 bpg and shot 59.4% overall.

The Hawks re-signed young big man John Collins, a restricted free agent this offseason, to a five-year deal worth a reported $125 million. That move came on the same day the Hawks signed All-Star guard Trae Young to a five-year extension worth a reported $207 million. Those moves ensured Collins and Young are under contract with the Hawks until 2025-26, while Capela’s deal keeps him on the same track in terms of contract timeline as well.

Capela is the fulcrum of the Hawks’ defense and forged a nice chemistry with Young on alley-oops and pick-and-roll plays last season. The Hawks have a capable young backup for Capela in Onyeka Okongwu, but he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Atlanta added depth in the frontcourt by picking up veteran big man Gorgui Dieng.

Aside from the big contracts the Hawks doled out to Collins, Young and now, Capela, it worked to maintain its depth. Lou Williams re-signed on a one-year deal and forward Solomon Hill is coming back as well, while the Hawks also were lauded on Draft night for picking Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper.

Additionally, the Hawks made sure the coach that guided them on their playoff run did not leave the fold either. Coach Nate McMillan had the interim tag removed from his title after he led Atlanta to a 27-11 mark in the regular season and on its standout playoff run.

The Hawks suffered a key injury during the conference finals when Young, the team’s leading scorer, missed two games with a bone bruise in his right foot after inadvertently stepping on an official’s foot and twisting his ankle in Game 3. That injury essentially ended Atlanta’s hopes of a Finals berth, but a bright future is in place.

In agreeing to deals with Young and Collins, the Hawks have a clear picture of their future for the first time in several seasons. Those deals — coupled with a promising young core that also includes Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic — make the Hawks a serious threat in the East for years to come.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.