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Rockets signing draft picks Clint Capela, Nick Johnson

Jul 23, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

The Rockets continue trying to rebuild the bench they willingly depleted this summer.

They dumped Jeremy Lin on the Lakers and traded Omer Asik and Omri Casspi (since waived) to the Pelicans in the name of signing Chris Bosh, who wound up staying with the Heat.

With limited flexibility after signing Trevor Ariza to replace Chandler Parsons, Houston has settled on underwhelming additions – Joey Dorsey, Jeff Adrien and Ish Smith.

The Rockets’ latest two signings won’t move the needle much either next season, but at least these players carry more upside – No. 25 pick Clint Capela and No. 42 pick Nick Johnson.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The Houston Rockets signed rookie forward Clint Capela on Wednesday, a source told Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets will pay the maximum $500,000 to Capela’s previous club, France Chalon, to receive his official FIBA letter of clearance.

Under the NBA rookie scale, Capela will make $991,000 next season and $1.03 million the 2014-15 season with options for two more seasons.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

A day after the Rockets completed play in the Las Vegas Summer League, the Rockets expected the signing of Johnson to be imminent, a person with knowledge of their talks said. Johnson will sign a three-year deal.

Second-round pick Alessandro Gentile is expected to remain in Europe for at least another season.

Though signing a first-round pick is typically standard fare, the Capela signing is newsworthy because he and the Rockets initially squabbled about when the Swiss forward would join the NBA. With Bosh no longer in play, though, Houston could stand to pay Capela now.

I wouldn’t the take the reported salary as gospel. That’s 100 percent of scale, and nearly every first-rounder signs for 120 percent of scale. Perhaps, the Rockets gave Capela a lower contract because they’re handling his buyout, but it’s also possible, given the wording, Spears is assuming the wrong numbers.

Johnson showed some promise during uneven summer-league play, and the undersized shooting guard from Arizona could carve out an NBA role. He’s not ready yet, though.

Gentile, chosen No. 53, joins Marko Todorovic, Kostas Papanikolaou, Jon Diebler, Sergio Llull, Maarty Leunen, Brad Newly, Axel Hervelle, Sergei Lishchuk and Venson Hamilton as unsigned players whose rights the Rockets hold. Maybe nothing ever comes of that – or maybe Daryl Morey uses some of those assets to really get the Rockets back on the track they abandoned this offseason.

  1. duhwighthoward - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    I think Nick Johnson should be the starting point guard on this team.

    Since Harden is an amazing ball-handler and handles the rock quite a bit, there won’t be much pressure on Nick Johnson.

    Patrick Beverly is a cheap-shot artist who barely beat out Jeremy Lin for the starting spot last season. (p.s. I like Lin. I would love to see what a good coach could do for him. I think McHale’s utter lack of coaching turned Lin’s mindset from attack mode to nonsense/trying to make fancy play mode.)

    • au1978 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      You’re cray cray. You say that Lin was in “nonsense/trying to make fancy play” mode last season–you must have missed all of Johnson’s nonsense during Summer League. The announcers were fawning all over him and sure, the kid has promise, but he’s got to dial it down quite a bit and mature a whole lot before he’s ANY team’s starting guard.

      • duhwighthoward - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:18 AM

        C’mon! Summer league is just for horsing around and staying in shape during the offseason.

        j/k You’re right, I missed it.

  2. campcouch - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Fans can spin it about cap space and picks if they want, but Houston has had one of the worst managerial off seasons in quite some time. I could blame Anthony and Bosh for teasing them with the prospect, but the GM really jumped the gun. It’s probable that Asik,Lin along with Parsons will start for their new teams and that was quite a lot of production given up for nothing. Ariza is a nice piece but this is his 7th teams in 10 years. Maybe they’re dreaming of Durant in two years, but they really could’ve built on the team they had last year. Hopefully these rookies bring something to offset these moves.

    • au1978 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      So far, yeah, it’s been a horrible offseason. I’m OK with losing Asik and Lin because that was inevitable anyway, but losing Chandler hurt. Ariza MAYbe able to fill that hole pretty well, but we still need another solid point guard and a strong pf wouldn’t hurt either. At the very least, I am holding out hope for Rondo. The current rookies/sophomores just aren’t gonna cut it.

  3. jadaruler - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:05 AM

    The Rockets had a bad off season, but don’t forget Morey and co. draft extremely well and find diamonds in the rough.

    They will have to rely on their young guys and hope the grow quickly.

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