Trail Blazers, Rockets Complete Robert Covington Trade

NOVEMBER 22: The deal is now official, according to a press release from the Trail Blazers. Covington goes to Portland in exchange for Ariza, the draft rights to No. 16 pick Isaiah Stewart, and the Blazers’ protected 2021 first-round pick.

Houston can now flip Ariza and Stewart to the Pistons, who will in turn send Ariza to Oklahoma City.


NOVEMBER 16: The Rockets and Trail Blazers are finalizing an agreement on a trade that will send forward Robert Covington to Portland, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). In exchange for Covington, Houston will acquire forward Trevor Ariza, the No. 16 pick in the 2020 draft, and Portland’s protected 2021 first-round selection, sources tell Wojnarowski.

While Covington isn’t the Rocket whose name has been mentioned most frequently in trade rumors during the last week or two, the fact that Houston is willing to move him indicates the team is no longer satisfied to simply run it back for the 2020/21 season. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are, of course, both reportedly hoping to be dealt this fall, so we’ll have to wait to see if this trade is a precursor to larger moves for the Rockets.

It was only nine months ago that the Rockets surrendered Clint Capela and a first-round pick in a four-team deal to acquire Covington, a three-and-D wing whom the team viewed as an ideal fit for its system. The 29-year-old did fit in well in Houston, averaging 11.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG in 22 games (33.0 MPG) down the stretch, though he struggled with his shot (.392 FG%, .315 3PT%). Covington was more reliable in the postseason, making 50.0% of his three-point attempts.

Ariza, who also plays a three-and-D role, is no stranger to Houston, having had two previous stints with the organization. Although he’s 35 years old, Ariza was still a solid contributor in Portland last season, averaging 11.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a .491/.400/.872 shooting line in 21 games (33.4 MPG) after being acquired in a trade-deadline deal. He opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer in Orlando.

Covington ($12.1MM) and Ariza ($12.8MM) have similar salaries for the 2020/21 season, though Ariza’s money is mostly non-guaranteed. It’ll need to be guaranteed for salary-matching purposes, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. While Ariza’s deal is set to expire a year from now, Covington’s contract is a little more team-friendly, running through 2022.

Covington’s age, contract, and versatility were all presumably factors in Portland’s decision to give up its next two first-round picks along with Ariza to land him. The veteran forward will join a lineup that will also feature Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic. Rodney Hood, Gary Trent Jr., and Zach Collins are among the candidates to fill out an impressive starting five.

The trade will have to be officially completed after the Blazers pick at No. 16 on behalf of the Rockets on Wednesday, since teams aren’t allowed to leave themselves with no first-round picks in two consecutive future drafts. Once the 2020 draft is over, Portland will be able to trade its 2021 pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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38 thoughts on “Trail Blazers, Rockets Complete Robert Covington Trade

    • Scott bever

      Best off season move Olshey has made since Nerk. 1 out of 10.
      Great move for blazer fans. Very lucky to get melo back on a vet min. He must really like the guys in Portland. Olshey giving him the vet min almost seems disrespectful.

  1. Gruba

    Good trade for Portland. Covington a Perfect player. Houston definitely going the full rebuild.

  2. harden-westbrook-mvps

    Everyone said what a mistake it was to let Ariza go, but now he’s back.

    • GoLandCrabs

      He is 35 lmao. Rockets are about to go on a 10 year run of irrevenance.

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        That’s typical anyway since irreverence is exactly what the Rockets experience all the time. “Irrevenance” isn’t even a word, perhaps you meant irrelevance which is what the Lakers and Warriors will be in a few years, but the Rockets will remain relevant for the rest of the decade.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      They probably won’t keep him this time.

      The team can save $11M by cutting him, seems likely.

      • rxbrgr

        No they can’t. His salary must be guaranteed to make the salary-matching work for POR

        • harden-westbrook-mvps

          Then they must have guaranteed it fully as part of the trade.

          • Count that baby and a foul!

            Guess we will be saying goodbye to you. Your name has an expiration date on it. I have a suggestion for yournext name. Houston-what-could-have- been lol!!!

            • harden-westbrook-mvps

              I’m still here, and the name ain’t changing. Get used to it.

  3. Dxit90a

    Great fit for Portland they needed a good tough defender . I doubt Ariza will be kept in Houston .

  4. Simmons>Russ

    Seems like such a Portland deal.

    Pay 2 first round picks to get Covington on the wing, by giving up its only other good 3 and D wing.

    I guess it helps Portland win more games but was it worth 2 firsts probably not…
    Lillard McCollum Covington Collins and Nurkic does that win them any rings.. nope.
    The ceiling for them is the WCF but more realistically they will make the second round of the playoffs and then lose to either the lakers clippers or Warriors.

    Why wouldn’t they try have a big go at Embiid or Simmons??

    McCollum, Nurkic and 4 first for Embiid and Josh Richardson.
    Lillard and Embiid plus young Nas Little and Collins thats a better team.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Portland hasn’t been a serious contender since Drexler was there.

      • Sillivan

        Portland is a small town
        They are better than Houston from 2000 to 2030

        • goastros123

          2004 to 2009 the Trail Blazers weren’t good at all while Houston made the postseason.

      • Lakers1

        They were in western conference finals last year.. 18-19 about the same as rockets have done since hakeem.. Trail Blazers were also pretty dominant in early 2000’s.. unlike rockets

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Cleaning house now. I told you you can’t win with Harden. This actually is a good trade for Rockets. 16th pick is a solid choice. Plus a future pick. You know this means they are blowing it up. I guess now we know why DAntoni and Morey left. I would love to see Westbrook in NY. Be Funny if both came here. Harden to Bklyn.

    • Simmons>Russ

      Exactly haven’t been a serious contender, all their playoff success has been Lillard largely carrying.

      If you were to throw everything bar Lillard away for Embiid and keep some of the younger pieces you’d be solid. Lillard mailing the deep shots, Embiid destroying down low. Then that pick and roll would be crazy. Defensively everything Lillard let’s inside Embiid can try tidy up.

      Then give more minutes to Nas Little, Anfree Simons and stuff so when Dame retires you can continue being good with Embiid the star of the show

  5. Good deal for Portland. Big 3’s are hard to find; RC isn’t elite, but can check those guys and is very reliable on offense. Not sure about Houston. I assumed they would trade either Harden or RW, not both, and then reload vs rebuild. Ariza is more hold the fort for a year, than a reload. Maybe the new GM wants to put his mark on the team through the draft.

  6. hiflew

    How was Portland allowed to trade back to back firsts? Are they not going to make the trade official until after the draft pick?

    • Luke Adams

      Yeah, they’ll have to wait until after the draft to make it official.

  7. x_burner_X

    Since rockets are tearing it down – Kuzma+Cook+Mcgee for House+PJ?

  8. KnickerbockerAl

    I guess Mello ain’t coming back. Please god don’t send him to Knicks. Blazers healthy next yr. Should be legit. This is going to be a fun basketball season. And we still have FA and the draft to go.

  9. formerlyz

    Robert Covington is a great fit for Portland, although they gave up those multiple picks. Could have maybe used that pick on one of the wings there after the lottery, and sign a couple of defensive minded options on FA. Also want to see how Nassir Little looks going forward…Houston will likely look to add one of those pieces, or could use it on a big, depending on who is there…

    Unless they move certain pieces, in which case BPA may be the play for them

  10. phillyballers

    Whoever would have thought RoCo would garner 2 1sts in any trade scenario?

    • This is effectively the second time it’s happened this year. Minn got the Nets pick and Hou’s pick, which was forwarded to Den for Beasley/JH.

  11. I'm a starboy not a Dr...

    Roco always gets traded for a player who is pretty much the best 3 & D player in the game… Good move for Portland. Could they also trade for a third star?

  12. goastros123

    Let the rebuilding begin. Now let’s see what you can get for Harden and Wrestbrook.

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