Robert Covington trade would help Houston Rockets a ton

The Houston Rockets reportedly have interest in acquiring Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington. He’d help the team in a big way.

Now that the first big NBA trade domino has fallen, others may soon be following suit. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington has been linked to multiple potential teams recently and the Houston Rockets are among the newest.

Covington is a traditional 3-and-D wing, meaning he can defend at a high level in addition to packing a bit of a scoring punch from the outside. His name has been passed around more times than a basketball as of late, as he’d be a key piece for any contending team. Per The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania, Houston has joined the list as of Thursday afternoon:

Minnesota is expected to drive a hard bargain, according to the article (subscription required). This is certainly fair for Minnesota, as they don’t want to part with a solid player in return for peanuts.

In 39 games (38 starts) with the T-Wolves this season, the 29-year-old is averaging 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game this season while canning 35.5 percent of his 3-point attempts. Also throwing in 1.7 steals and a block per game, his value is on full display both via the box score and the eye test.

Covington is under contract through the end of the 2021-22 season, which only drives his trade value higher. His full-year salaries over the next couple of years are manageable, including what he’s making in 2019-20:

  • 2019-20 (roughly halfway through season): $11,301,219
  • 2020-21: $12,138,345
  • 2021-22: $12,975,471
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Covington’s reputation as a premier defender and solid shooter from deep, his age and his contract status all make him one of the most sought-after players available this year.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey would be foolish to not do his due diligence and inquire about Covington, at the very least. What Minnesota would want in return in a potential trade situation is another story, though.

Golden State Warriors young stud D’Angelo Russell has been a name tossed into hypothetical trades for Covington. Russell alone would top any offer the Rockets could even consider making. Houston is cash-strapped against the salary cap and doesn’t want to sacrifice too much of its in-house talent just to add Covington.

House of Houston writer Brian K. Patterson is in favor of putting together a package of P.J. Tucker and a future first-round draft pick.

That offer doesn’t seem like enough. In addition to the cap relief offered by Tucker’s contract and the first-round pick, Minnesota would want something else. Could a filler player possibly get general manager Scott Layden to bite?

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Only time will tell. For now, though, let’s hope that the Houston Rockets make one more move before they gear up for playoff run this April and beyond.

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