Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela is having himself a solid season. He averaged more than 15 points per game, led the league in rebounds (with 14.3 per contest), and also set a career-high with two blocks per game.
And thanks to a trade before the season that sent him to Atlanta from the Houston Rockets, Capela earned himself an extra $1 million this season.
Okay, the trade itself wasn't the only factor in Capela's bonus. But it wouldn't have happened if he were still on the Rockets.
Back in 2018, Capela signed a contract extension with Houston. The deal contained two "likely" incentives:
1) $1 million if he made the conference finals.
2) $500,000 if he finished the season with a 30 percent defensive rebound rate.
It also contained a "not likely" incentive, where Capela would get another $500,000 if he made at least 65% of his free throws.
Capela has never achieved that free throw percentage in his career, though he did post a 34.3% defensive rebounding rate to earn $500,000.
At the time, the Rockets making the Western Conference Finals seemed like a good possibility. They had just gotten there the previous season, coming a game away from reaching the NBA Finals. And they had all their key pieces returning.
As the team started the rebuilding process, Capela was suddenly an expendable piece. He got traded to the Hawks as part of a four-team deal and looked like he was going from one rebuilding situation to another.
Only the Hawks turned out to be a lot better than anyone expected this year. They beat the New York Knicks in five games in the opening round, then upset the number-one seed Philadelphia 76ers in the semis, including winning three games on the road.
The Hawks had to honor Capela's previous contract incentives. Therefore, that trip to the Eastern Conference Finals resulted in Capela earning an extra $1 million.
Meanwhile, the Rockets finished with the worst record in the league, so he wouldn't have gotten that extra money if he stayed put. Sometimes, it pays to be lucky and good.