Robert Covington, who is now a member of the Timberwolves, heard the trade rumors surrounding his name over the summer. He was aware that the Sixers were in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes and asked Brett Brown about the possibilities of him getting dealt.
“I was told over the summer that there was no chance that I would be traded,” Covington said (via Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “But things happen. I talked to Brett numerous times. At the same time, you saw everything that transpired with Kawhi and DeMar [DeRozan, the main principles in the trade that sent Leonard from San Antonio to Toronto], so anything can happen.”
Covington added that he didn’t find out about the trade from the Sixers.
“I found out on social media,” he said. “It was like five minutes before the team meeting, then Brett [Brown, the Sixers’ coach] called me and EB [general manager Elton Brand] called me, but I already knew. By then it was already out there. That’s how I found out.”
Covington added that the conversation with Brown was “clear-cut and dry.” The small forward was merely told he going to Minnesota in a package for Butler.
“As far as having that respect level, and for how much we’d been through, I would have thought it had to be completely different, but it wasn’t. Considering how much time relationship-wise and everything that went down. … It was weird,” Covington added.
Brown and Covington have been in contact via text since the deal. Brown recently learned about Covington’s feelings on the communication of the trade and indicated that he will reach out to the 28-year-old about it.
Brand and Covington haven’t spoken since the day of the trade. The two have known each other since Brand was a member of the Sixers (Todd notes that the two players had adjacent lockers) and they had a close relationship. Brand acknowledged that things are different now.
“It probably was cold,” Brand said of trading Covington. “I would talk to those guys about anything and everything … and now we don’t talk anymore. With my new role and my new job, it’s tough to make those decisions. The relationship is real, but it’s tough because it becomes transactional. I can see how he would think it was cold, for sure.”
Covington told Todd that he doesn’t hold any grudges. The Sixers will host the Timberwolves on January 15. “I think it’ll be warm, but you never know with Philly,” Covington said of the response he’ll get from the Philadelphia crowd. “One minute they love you and the next, you never know.”