More Rumors in this Storyline
Kelly Iko: Robert Covington being traded to Portland, a source confirmed to @TheAthletic. ESPN first with the news.
Jonathan Feigen: Rockets dealing Robert Covington to the Trail Blazers for Trevor Ariza and first-round picks in the next two drafts. @Adrian Wojnarowski reported first. Deal can’t be official until after Wednesday’s draft. Blazers sending the 16th pick this season.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Rockets are finalizing a trade to send Robert Covington to Portland for Trevor Ariza and 2020 first-round pick and 2021 protected first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.
Bobby Marks: Trevor Ariza has a $12.8M contract with $1.8M guaranteed. Full amount will get guaranteed (11/20) to make the money work with the Robert Covington $12.1M contract. Ariza on an expiring and Covington under contract thru 2021/22.
Multiple league sources say the Bucks are active in trade discussions; they’re looking to move on from Eric Bledsoe, and have offered him to several teams. They’re also in pursuit of Rockets forwards Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker; Houston doesn’t have a pick in this draft and is moving toward a retooling period with Russell Westbrook wanting out. If the Bucks stay here, or even if the pick is traded, it’s hard to see Anthony dropping any further. He was a top high-school recruit and a projected lottery pick heading into the season. He had a disastrous freshman season at North Carolina, but his shot-creation skills could ultimately add a lot to any offense he’s part of.
[The Bucks are] also in pursuit of Rockets forwards Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker; Houston doesn’t have a pick in this draft and is moving toward a retooling period with Russell Westbrook wanting out.
Mark Berman: New #Rockets forward Robert Covington has arrived in Houston. pic.twitter.com/KhJqn1Bktv
Shams Charania: Sources: Minnesota, Atlanta, Houston are in serious discussions on a deal that would send Robert Covington to Rockets and Clint Capela to the Hawks. Evan Turner and draft compensation involved in current talks to Timberwolves. Potential fourth team too.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Minnesota, Houston and Atlanta are still engaged in talks on a three-team deal — with no new progress in discussions on adding Golden State to deal, league sources tell ESPN. Talks remain fluid through Thursday 3 PM ET deadline.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among the serious candidates to emerge as a new fourth team in this trade scenario, league sources tell ESPN: The Denver Nuggets. Talks with teams elsewhere are ongoing too.
The Timberwolves, Rockets and Hawks possess the assets to fulfill some of each team’s goals: forward Robert Covington to Houston, center Clint Capela to the Hawks and potentially two first-round picks and an expiring contract to Minnesota, league sources said.
For Minnesota, those potential draft assets could be useful in talks with Golden State on a Russell trade, or elsewhere in deals at the trade deadline or in this offseason. The Timberwolves have been engaged with Golden State in talks on a package that includes Russell in recent weeks, league sources said.
The Clippers have been aggressive, no surprise considering they have the $11.5 million Mo Harkless contract and a first round pick to deal. Considering if LA doesn’t trade the pick it can’t deal another one until we colonize Mars, there is some urgency in the LA front office to get a deal done. The Clippers have kicked the tires on Kevin Love and could grab disgruntled Kings center Dewayne Dedmon, but neither are preferred options. There is some interest in Tristan Thompson in LA’s front office, per sources, as LA’s coaching staff has fretted about the team’s rebounding, particularly when Ivica Zubac is off the floor. Wing depth is a consideration for the Clippers, with Robert Covington and Iguodala among the possibilities discussed.
Finally, a third league exec told HoopsHype: “Russell could return a player and a pick. The Timberwolves are being linked to him, but they would have to include a lot more to complete a deal. It would probably include Robert Covington, but they’d need to add a lot more and the money doesn’t work.”
The Athletic: Does that cut both ways, I wonder? Like if the front office makes a move that wasn’t on your radar and then in hindsight you’re looking at it saying, ‘I’m not sure I like that…’ Karl-Anthony Towns: I think it would hurt the star player or player (that’s) highly regarded in the organization if they didn’t feel confidence in the front office. I do. I feel very confident in Gerss and (coach) Ryan (Saunders) and all of them. So like I said, whatever they do, I’m going to support because I know they’re trying to make the right decisions for us to win.
The Star-Tribune: So you’d understand it, even if it would be tough to take? Karl-Anthony Towns: I mean, you’ve been through my journey. You’ve seen how much change I went through. Obviously there’s a lot of decisions (where), obviously, as a person — person to person — you obviously don’t like, and as a player you may not like, but it’s something you’ve got to live with. And that comes with just having trust in those guys, so I’m not going to say either — anything. Like I said, I don’t get paid to make those decisions. Those are tough decisions, but here’s to hoping that I see Cov on Friday I guess. … Look man, he’s a great guy, a great dude. He’s a great player. He’s helped me tremendously and he’s continuing to help me every day. He just gives me such comfort out there.
The Star-Tribune: How much would you want Cov to stay here, because he’s been a focus of all this? Karl-Anthony Towns: I mean I think it’s very, very, very — for you, especially (he says to beat reporter Chris Hine) — I think it’s very obvious (that) he’s my best friend on the team, so it would be very difficult if something like that was going to happen. Um, you know, but like with Zach LaVine (who was traded from Minnesota to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade in June 2017) , you know this is a business. So like I said, I’m the one who just plays the game. I don’t get paid to make rosters and stuff like that. That’s why we have Gerss and them, so…
“If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t,” Covington said after Wolves’ shootaround Monday in Sacramento, where the Wolves were hoping to halt their second 11-game losing streak of the season. “That’s just the way I’ve learned to approach it. If you get caught up in it, then that’s when it deteriorates — not deteriorates your mind, but gets you to overthinking about stuff, and I ain’t doing that.”
Would Towns still be happy if Covington was one of the players the front office felt like it had to deal? “I think it’s very obvious he’s my best friend on the team, so it would be very difficult if something like that was going to happen,” Towns said. “But like with Zach LaVine, this is a business. So like I said, I’m the one who just plays the game. I don’t get paid to make rosters and stuff like that. That’s why we have [Rosas] and them.”
Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Denver are interested in Covington, sources say. Dallas and Denver have minimal interest, which puts Houston and Philadelphia in pole position for one of the league’s most reputable 3-and-D wings. Covington isn’t moving as nimbly on defense as he has in past seasons following knee surgery last April, but he’s still a solid, reliable defender who could help a playoff team and shoot at an above-average clip from 3, which explains Houston’s interest.
A little over a year later, Covington finds himself again at the center of trade rumors, with ESPN national reporter Adrian Wojnarowski saying on his podcast he expects the Wolves to move Covington before Thursday’s trade deadline. This time, Covington has been hardened to the whole process, and he’s insistent that he isn’t focused on these latest rumors.
“If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t,” Covington said after Wolves shootaround Monday in Sacramento, where the Wolves are hoping to halt their second 11-game losing streak of the season. “That’s just the way I’ve learned to approach it. If you get caught up in it, then that’s when it deteriorates — not deteriorates your mind, but gets you to overthinking about stuff, and I ain’t doing that.”
Covington prefers not to think of the possibilities at all. He said he wasn’t going to address these rumors with President Gersson Rosas since last time he tried doing that in Philadelphia it offered no help. “I did that before [in Philadelphia] and I was told things one way,” Covington said. “But overall I’m just focused on me going out and playing each and every night. I don’t get caught up in that.”
Covington said in his experience, there is validity to some trade rumors. He is just trying to ignore all the noise, legitimate or not. “It’s coming from somewhere,” Covington said. “Somebody said something or somebody is trying to create a buzz. You never really know the truth until something actually happens. A lot of stuff is just speculation a majority of the time.”
Marc Stein: The Mavericks still seek a wing upgrade after the acquisition of big man Willie Cauley-Stein — but league sources say Dallas has maintained its reluctance to join the Andre Iguodala trade chase (as reported here in December) and is also not actively bidding on Robert Covington
Minnesota has been engaged in talks regarding Covington, whose suitors include Dallas, Houston and Milwaukee, according to sources. The Mavericks and Rockets discussed potential deals for Covington in the offseason, with the Mavericks having their 2020 Golden State second-rounder and the Rockets dangling future first-round compensation. Still, some executives have worries about Covington’s remaining two years and $25 million deal and injury concerns.
Marc Stein: Ambitious as it sounds, Minnesota has sought two first-round picks in exchange for Robert Covington in advance of Thursday’s trade deadline, league sources say. Let’s see where the Wolves land if/when they actually deal him, with Philly and Houston at the front of the RoCo line
The Sixers have been linked to a resurgent Derrick Rose, their former forward Covington and sharpshooter Davis Bertans. But the asking price, particularly for Covington, one source said, has been too steep. As in: Matisse Thybulle, plus a first-rounder — a hang-up worthy offer. In negotiations, both sides typically get more desperate as the deadline nears. Maybe the asking price for a guy like Rose or Covington lowers to a more appealing level or the Sixers decide something like a future first-rounder is worth it.
The Warriors are aware of this dynamic. It automatically bumps up Russell’s market value in conversations with the Wolves. Minnesota has dangled Andrew Wiggins, who is on a similar contract as Russell and fills a greater positional need. But from a Warriors’ perspective, that’s still a questionable talent-for-talent swap. Most around the league view Russell as better than Wiggins. It’s a move only a panicked front office would make. But the Warriors aren’t in a panic about Russell. Unless the Wolves unload the vault — something like Robert Covington and Josh Okogie plus a basket of appealing, unprotected picks — it’s wiser for the Warriors to wait until past this deadline on Russell and perhaps well beyond.
The Mavericks are continuously cited by league sources as a potential landing spot for Grizzlies wing Andre Iguodala, who could help them this season as a secondary ball handler without compromising their future cap space. The Mavs have also made offers to the Timberwolves for Robert Covington, but those have been declined, according to multiple league sources. Covington won’t make many plays off the dribble, but he’d be an upgrade over Dorian Finney-Smith as a 3-and-D wing. It remains to be seen whether Dallas has the ammo to complete a trade, but it’s clear that the team is looking to bolster its postseason odds.
Sources also say the Wolves are happy to keep Covington and make him a part of the vision for next season, but everybody outside of Towns is available in a trade. Or at least the Wolves are willing to take those trade calls. Their priority is setting up more roster flexibility for acquiring bigger names, and finding a playmaker who meshes perfectly with setting up Towns.
A rapidly escalating arms race for this star role player is pitting the league’s elite against each other. As much as the Minnesota Timberwolves want to keep him, they’re a longshot to make the playoffs, and this might be the time to maximize their return on Covington. He has no shortage of suitors. The Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks, Rockets and 76ers are among the teams that have expressed some Covington interest, according to people familiar with the matter. Before they can battle for a championship, they have to bid against each other.
ShowtimeForum: “The #Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks, Rockets and 76ers are among the teams that have expressed some Covington interest, according to people familiar with the matter.” Via: @bzcohen | #Lakeshow pic.twitter.com/ScjEI8bvJq
Jon Johnson: Per NBA source, Sixers are currently focusing on Bogdan Bogdanovic, & Robert Covington as potential deadline acquisitions. Source says Sixers have been firm on who/what is, and isn’t not available in return.
So how is Covington dealing with the trade chatter? “I’m not even focused on that,” Covington said recently. “My main focus is this team and what I do every day. I’m not going to get caught up in rumors or hype or whatnot. I’m a Minnesota Timberwolf. That’s all my focus is.”
Christopher Hine: Covington, when asked recently about the weekly rumors of teams trading for him: “I’m not even focused on that. My main focus is this team & what I do every day. I’m not going to get caught up in rumors or hype or whatnot. I’m a Minnesota Timberwolf. That’s all my focus is.”
Rival teams also say the market for forward Robert Covington has been heating up over recent days. Covington has become a coveted player, with his defensive prowess and outside shooting an ideal fit for most teams in the playoff hunt. Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia are among the teams who have expressed interest in Covington, but Minnesota is expected to drive a hard bargain, league sources said.
“I’m not even focused on that,” Covington said in regards to leaguewide interest. “My main focus is with this team and what I do every day. I don’t get caught up in the rumors and hype and whatnot. Right now, I’m a Minnesota Timberwolf and that’s all my focus is (on).”
Most interestingly, sources say the Sixers inquired about Robert Covington, whom they dealt to the Timberwolves in 2018 in the Butler trade. I reported last month that Covington is available, and that is still the case. But Minnesota could have so many bidders for Covington that the price will be too high for Philadelphia to make a reunion a reality.
Rival teams will always expect the Wolves to be active, but that’s largely because Rosas hails from Houston and one of the most aggressive organizations in the league. You’ll be wiser to monitor this instead: There continues to be external interest in the veteran Minnesota swingman Robert Covington now that trade season is in full flow.
Covington’s tardiness prompted a short benching at the start of the game. Saunders insisted that he didn’t believe that the timing of Covington’s mistake was anything more than a coincidence. But the losses are piling up and his name is starting to surface in trade rumors. Covington said he took ownership of his tardiness and agreed with Saunders’ decision to pull him from the starting lineup. Then he went 5 for 17 from the field and 3 for 11 from 3-point range.
Jon Krawczynski: Covington is not in the lineup due to coach’s decision. It is not trade related.
The Minnesota Timberwolves (10-15) are believed to be shopping both Jeff Teague and Robert Covington, the former GM said. “They need to figure out their point guard situation.”
The Houston Rockets have serious interest in Covington, league sources say. The Rockets are in the market for wings; with James Harden having another MVP-caliber season, they’re a team that should go all in no matter who the target is. They have the ammo to do so: Despite the pile of picks it sent Oklahoma City in the Chris Paul–for–Russell Westbrook blockbuster, Houston can still dangle its first-round picks in 2020 and 2022.
Take the Minnesota Timberwolves, for example. Playoff teams are monitoring the availability of Robert Covington, according to multiple league sources. Covington is one of the league’s better 3-and-D wings and could net a significant return that helps the Wolves build around Karl-Anthony Towns and their young core.
Robert Covington, Timberwolves: He is one of the most valued 3-and-D players in the league, but after a knee issue forced him to have surgery in April, the Wolves were offering him around at the draft as they looked to move up. Depending on his return to health, league executives believe he could be on the market again.
Dane Moore: Robert Covington on leaving a Philadelphia organization he bloomed in: “It was definitely a shocker. But understand it’s part of the business… You can be mad, but you can’t allow it to take away from the opportunity in front of you.”
Jessica Camerato: It’s official … pic.twitter.com/LyDxnEz1BV
Alex Kennedy: An Eastern Conference player texted me about PHI-MIN deal, saying he’s shocked Philly included Robert Covington: “Wow, the 76ers gave up a lot. I love Robert Covington. I’ve always been a fan of his game. He was a really big piece for them. He’s an exceptional role player.”
The Sixers’ most realistic package to submit to San Antonio could involve Dario Saric, Robert Covington and the Miami Heat’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick. However, the Spurs want two players — again, believed to be Saric and Covington — and three future first-round picks.
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September 27, 2021 | 7:28 pm EDT Update
CJ McCollum: I think it’s important we don’t lose sight of the fact that 90% of the league is vaccinated. Happy Monday.
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