The 32-year-old forward appeared in just 48 games and averaged 16.2 minutes per night, the lowest total since his rookie season. He doesn’t understand why he spent so much time on the bench, adding that he hasn’t talked to head coach Tyronn Lue since the playoffs ended.
L.A. was Covington’s fifth team in four years when the Clippers acquired him shortly before the 2022 trade deadline. He became the primary backup at power forward and believed the fit was so good that he didn’t test free agency, opting for a two-year extension with L.A. instead.
Covington had a regular role at the beginning of last season while starting center Ivica Zubac was injured. But after entering health and safety protocols at the end of October, Covington didn’t see consistent playing time again. He was expecting to be traded before the February deadline, Murray adds, but he remained on the roster, although he was stuck behind Marcus Morris and Nicolas Batum. Even when Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were sidelined with late-season injuries, Lue didn’t insert Covington back into the rotation.
“I got a vendetta. It’s a bigger chip on my shoulder,” Covington said of his approach to the upcoming season. “Not playing that much last year really put me in a place — all right. I got to force them. So, come back, do what I got to do. They say this is the mentality of, you know, come back strong, get better. That way, it won’t be none of that. Won’t be no issues of, whatever the case. … It’s the way the year went. It wasn’t how I expected, but I said it’s come back, go to the drawing board, and get better.”
Covington addresses a few other topics in his interview with Murray. Here are some highlights:
On getting ready to enter another season with an expiring contract:
“It ain’t no difference. Only difference is that I didn’t play last year. I mean, that’s the only difference. I approach every chance, every opportunity like that —it’s no different. So my mentality don’t shift, I don’t get discouraged or anything. I got to do what I do. And I do what I do best. So I’m never going to stray away. Never going to stray away from anything of that nature. I am going to be who I am, and that’s just what it is.”
On whether there was anything to learn from spending so much time on the bench:
“I didn’t take nothing from last year. Last year didn’t go how I expected, so I didn’t take nothing from it. I just wash it away and start over, a new year. That’s just my mentality of it. … It’s nothing that could be talked about. I mean, I really haven’t had much feedback besides, you know, what I’ve been doing now. I haven’t talked about last year. I’ve put that behind me and focused on right now and moving forward. That’s what it’s all about. Can’t dwell on what happened last year, whatever the case may be. It happened. So I’m just gonna wash, move forward.”
“Those guys are going to be special. I like Jordan’s tenacity, his pressure on defense, I like his cutting off ball. I like the plays and reads he made. The other guys came up here and played really well. You know, BB is starting to get better. Bones is getting better. KJ is athletic as hell. He’s gotten so much better. It is great to sit up here and see them dudes sit up here and prosper.”