Sixers Trade Rumors: Deal close for Covington?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
January 17, 2020 - 7:48 am

The Sixers interest in bringing back Robert Covington appears to be heating up. 

According to a recent report in The Athletic, the Sixers are one of three teams that have expressed the most interest in making a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the elite defensive wingman. 

Per The Athletic:

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 that have expressed interest in him, but Minnesota is expected to drive a hard bargain, league sources said.

The report goes on to say that the Timberwolves, in general, are looking to make a move and are expected to be aggressive in trying to reshape their roster. 

Covington is averaging 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists this season in 28 minutes per game. He is shooting 35% from three, and would give the Sixers some much-needed shooting from the perimeter.  Covington, of course, played five seasons for the Sixers prior to being dealt last year in the deal that landed Jimmy Butler. 

The issue isn't whether Covington would improve the Sixers (he would). The issue is whether the Sixers have enough assets to land Covington in a deal and if using what precious little trade pieces they do have on Covington is the right move. 

The Sixers almost certainly won't be trading any of their top four players -- Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Al Horford or Tobias Harris. Even the chances of moving Josh Richardson seem slim, and very unlikely in a deal for Covington. That leaves the Sixers only real trade pieces as Mike Scott, Zhaire Smith and draft picks. That is not a very attractive trade package, and it is unlikely the Timberwolves would accept a deal centered around those pieces for Covington. 

Although the Sixers do need shooting, their top need is arguably someone to create their own shot from the perimeter, especially late in games. Covington is an elite defensive player and great shooter, but putting the ball on the floor and driving to the basket is not one of his strengths. 

At 26-16, sixth in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers need to make a move prior to the NBA trade deadline on February 6th.  

The question is with so few trade pieces, will they be able to pull off a deal -- and if they do, will it be for a piece that helps them more than Covington would.