Robert Covington

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Saric, Covington, Fultz

Joel Embiid‘s teammates believe the Sixers made the right move by rewarding him with a five-year extension, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid is slated to receive $148MM, but the value could go as high as $178MM if he meets certain criteria. There are also several salary cap protections to guard the organization against further injury for Embiid, who has played just 31 games in three seasons. “Have you seen him play? He’s a beast,” Ben Simmons responded when asked about the extension. “I can’t name one person that can stop him. Honestly, there’s nobody that can compete with him at his position. No one.”

Embiid is still recovering from “minor” surgery in March to fix a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Sixers were hoping to have him ready for the October 18 season opener, but rehab has been going well and Pompey suggests he may play in Friday’s preseason finale. Embiid’s last game before the surgery was January 27.

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Embiid’s cap hit for next summer will be either $25.2MM or $30.3MM, depending on whether he meets the qualifications for the 30% max, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. If Embiid is only at the 25% max, Philadelphia will have about $53.34MM in committed salary heading into next year’s free agent sweepstakes. That leaves roughly $47.6MM, but that figure will be reduced by draft picks and option decisions. The Sixers may have two first-rounders if they land the Lakers’ pick, and they have to determine whether to extend rookie-scale contracts for Jahlil Okafor ($6.3MM in 2018/19), Dario Saric ($2.5MM) and Justin Anderson ($2.5MM) by the end of October. Bodner writes that the Sixers are certain to pick up Saric’s option, but Okafor and Anderson are less definite. Philadelphia also has team options on T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes valued at $1.6MM each, but those don’t have to be addressed until June 29.
  • The team’s most important remaining salary decision involves Robert Covington, Bodner adds in the same piece. Starting November 15, Covington will be eligible to have his contract renegotiated or extended. He will become a free agent with a $3MM cap hold next summer if nothing is done.
  • Rookie guard Markelle Fultz may still be suffering the effects of a right shoulder injury, Pompey relays in a separate story. The first overall pick had to sit out Friday’s game and is shooting just 29.2% from the floor in the preseason. “I think his shoulder is affecting him more than he lets on,” coach Brett Brown said. “You can tell with his free throw, you know, trying to get that ball up. Its follow from his body. But he’s been working on just trying to get that thing rehabilitated.”

Atlantic Notes: Miles, Morris, Covington, Olynyk

C.J. Miles and Norman Powell enter the Raptors’ training camp as the primary contenders for the starting small forward spot, coach Dwane Casey told Doug Smith of the Toronto Star and other media members. The winner in the competition will join guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, power forward Serge Ibaka and center Jonas Valanciunas in the starting five. Miles, the former Pacers swingman, was signed by Toronto as a free agent in July. “It could be either one,” Casey said.Delon Wright may see some minutes at the three because he’s a versatile young man. Bruno (Caboclo) gives you a standstill shooter.” The spot opened up when DeMarre Carroll was dealt to the Nets in July.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics forward Marcus Morris will miss the start of training camp Tuesday until his trial on an aggravated assault charge in Arizona is resolved, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com reports. His brother, Wizards forward Markieff Morris, is also on trial on in the felony case. Marcus Morris was acquired by Boston this summer in the deal that sent guard Avery Bradley to the Pistons.  The Morris brothers face possible prison time and discipline from the NBA, including a minimum 10-game suspension if they are found guilty, Forsberg adds.
  • Sixers forward Robert Covington strikes an optimistic note that an agreement will be reached regarding an extension or renegotiation of his current contract, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. Covington, who stands to make less than $1.6MM this season, is in the unusual position of being eligible for an extension or renegotiation. It can’t be finalized until November 15, the three-year anniversary of when Covington signed his current deal.
  • Power forward Kelly Olynyk never wanted to leave the Celtics, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe notes. The Celtics’ brass kept in touch with Olynyk during the Gordon Hayward free agent saga, Washburn adds. When Hayward agreed to join Boston, Olynyk’s rights were renounced to create cap space and he soon signed with the Heat.

Three Huge Decisions Awaiting Sixers

The Sixers are facing three decisions this fall that will affect the future of the franchise, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic (subscription site).

Philadelphia hasn’t posted a winning record since going 35-31 in the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season, but years of acquiring draft picks and other assets seem ready to pay off. The Sixers appear to have the talent on hand to be perennial playoff contenders, but Bodner identifies three immediate issues that must be resolved.

  • Will Robert Covington receive an extension? Covington started all 67 games he played last season and is expected to keep that role at small forward for 2017/18. The team’s best perimeter defender and a career .354 shooter from 3-point range, Covington will make less than $1.6MM in his fifth NBA season. Headed for free agency next summer, he is in a unique situation that lets him either extend his current contract or renegotiate the entire thing, including the upcoming season. Bodner speculates that Philadelphia may use some of its $15MM in remaining cap money to boost Covington’s salary for 2017/18 and save on the rest of the contract. Nothing can happen until November 15, the three-year anniversary of when Covington signed his current deal, and sources tell Bodner there is interest in a long-term relationship.
  • Will Joel Embiid receive an extension? Embiid posted massive numbers during his rookie season, although the team played him in just 31 games with limited minutes so there wouldn’t be a repeat of the injuries that wiped out his first two NBA seasons. Without an extension, Embiid will be a restricted free agent next summer, but the injury risks make it a difficult decision as Bodner notes that Embiid hasn’t been cleared for five-on-five activity at camp. Bodner speculates that 60 games of being healthy could be enough for Embiid to land a maximum offer. He adds that Embiid will have an $18.3MM cap hold next summer, which will affect the Sixers’ plans in free agency. Bodner suggests a compromise where the Sixers commit to a max yearly average with only part of it guaranteed. He relays that the front office has talked to Embiid’s representatives about an extension and there appears to be mutual interest.
  • Will Jahlil Okafor‘s option be picked up? The third pick in the 2015 draft has been a disappointment in his first two seasons, although injuries have been a factor. Okafor would make more than $6.3MM in 2018/19 if the team exercises its option, which could cut into its ability to make a max offer to free agents. Also, Embiid is clearly the center of the future if he stays healthy, so it’s hard to envision a significant role for Okafor. The Sixers could elect to pick up the option and try to rebuild Okafor’s trade value, but Bodner sees that as a risky strategy.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Fultz, Covington, Doyle

The Celtics are unhappy that the Cavaliers are asking for more compensation in the Kyrie Irving trade and may be planning a hard-line response, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The Celtics front office believes it was fully honest about the condition of Isaiah Thomas when the teams discussed his injured hip prior to completing the deal. The Cavaliers seem to think that Thomas is months away from returning to action, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link), who also speculates that Boston could offer to include Terry Rozier to get the trade completed. (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • A pair of Sixers players are vowing to be ready when training camp opens next month. Markelle Fultz, the top pick in the draft, told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly that he is optimistic after suffering a lateral sprain to his left ankle during the Las Vegas Summer League (Twitter link). Robert Covington, who was shut down for the season in late March with a slight tear of his lateral meniscus, also expects to be fully healed by camp (Twitter link).
  • Rookie point guard Milton Doyle is confident that he can earn a roster spot in Brooklyn, according to a story on NetsDaily. A first team all-Missouri Valley Conference player last season at Loyola, Chicago, Doyle signed a training camp deal with the Nets in early August. He caught the eyes of team officials by averaging 10.5 points per game during summer league play, but he may be ticketed for the G League.
  • Phil Jackson’s reign as president of the Knicks didn’t turn out the way he hoped, but New York Liberty president Isiah Thomas doesn’t think Jackson harmed his legacy, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. “Believe me, Phil, myself, Donnie Walsh, Larry Brown, Lenny [Wilkins], all of us go back and try to figure out, man what did we do wrong?,’’ Thomas said. “If we can do it all over again, what would we do different? That’s the thing we love in New York. It brings out the best in you as a person because you really get pushed to the wall in terms of trying to figure out how to win and put it together and satisfy the fan base. That’s why we all want to crack that egg.” Thomas also praised Carmelo Anthony for the way he handled a string of negative comments from Jackson.

Atlantic Notes: Russell, Henderson, Covington, Yabusele

D’Angelo Russell‘s first reaction upon being traded from the Lakers to the Nets was excitement over the new opportunity, relays Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily. Russell touched on a wide variety of topics during an interview today on WFAN with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. He believes the Nets have an “underrated group of guys” with a mixture of young players and veterans who are ready to exceed expectations.

Russell also brushed aside comments from Lakers executive Magic Johnson about needing a leader and said he’s not upset about being traded. “It’s business, man. That’s how I got to look at it,” Russell said. “A lot of things happen in this league and you don’t agree with it or however you may feel about it and at the end of the day realize it’s business.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets will probably add one more veteran before camp, but not on a guaranteed deal, according to a tweet from NetsDaily. Brooklyn still has a little bit of cap space remaining.
  • Former Sixers guard Gerald Henderson underwent surgery today to repair his left hip, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. His agent, Jim Tanner, confirmed the surgery and said Henderson will start rehab next week in hopes of returning to the NBA, although there is concern he could be sidelined for the entire season. Philadelphia waived Henderson at the end of June before his $9MM salary for next year became guaranteed.
  • Sixers forward Robert Covington is an “X factor” on a roster filled with young talent, writes Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders. The 26-year-old has been a fixture in Philadelphia’s starting lineup over the past three seasons and provides a blend of 3-point shooting and defense, finishing third in the league last year in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. Covington is entering the final year of his contract at $1.577MM and Chambers speculates that the team wants to get an extension done soon.
  • Draft-and-stash Celtics big man Guerschon Yabusele is reporting progress after having bone spurs removed from both ankles in May, relays Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Yabusele is looking forward to joining the Celtics this upcoming season after spending last year in China and the G League. He believes he’s close to being medically cleared for a full-speed, on-court workout. “I’ve been running a little bit and doing some bike stuff and just keeping my ankle moving,” Yabusele said. “But I’m ready to go.”

Atlantic Notes: Covington, Knicks, Raptors, Nets

Sixers swingman Robert Covington has new representation, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, who reports (via Twitter) that Leon Rose and Drew Morrison of CAA Sports are Covington’s new agents. Covington, who was previously represented by Happy Walters, is finally nearing a significant payday after having been one of the NBA’s biggest bargains for the last couple seasons. If the Sixers don’t renegotiate and extend Covington’s deal this year, he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks general manager Steve Mills has thrown Phil Jackson‘s triangle “in the trash” and is giving head coach Jeff Hornacek full autonomy to run the team’s offense, tweets Marc Berman of The New York Post. While giving Hornacek more freedom to operate looks like a positive sign, Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post believes the Knicks took a step forward and then two steps back by turning basketball decisions over to Mills after Jackson’s departure.
  • Moving DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph will give the Raptors a little more flexibility to maneuver, but the club still has holes to fill on its roster, including at the power forward spot, writes Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.
  • Sixers head coach Brett Brown is a significant reason why J.J. Redick ultimately decided to sign with the team, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer details. “He is someone I have watched and I’ve wanted to play for,” Redick said of Brown. “I’m thrilled to be playing for him next year. For me personally, that was the biggest thing.”
  • Net Income of NetsDaily takes a look at how the Nets might use – or not use – their remaining cap room.

Lowe’s Latest: George, Hayward, Ibaka, Gallinari

A proposed scenario that would see the Celtics sign Gordon Hayward, trade for Paul George, and sign George to a contract extension isn’t realistic, writes Zach Lowe in his latest report for ESPN.com. As Lowe points out, there would be no reason for George to re-up with Boston right away in that scenario unless he could renegotiate a maximum salary, and it would be extremely difficult for the C’s to accommodate such a deal without moving Al Horford.

Knowing that if they acquire George, he could be a rental, the Celtics have thus far been unwilling to include Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, or the Lakers’ 2018 first-rounder in any of their offers to Indiana, Lowe reports. Lowe’s best guess at Boston’s offer is a package that would include Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and one of the team’s other first-round picks. The C’s will be reluctant to go much higher than that, given their fear that George could leave in 2018 — Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times wrote on Thursday night that the Pacers forward is still telling friends he expects to be a Laker in 2018.

While George could just be a one-year rental, the Celtics have competition for him. According to Lowe, the Wizards would likely be willing to sign-and-trade Otto Porter and include a first-round pick. The Cavaliers would swap Kevin Love straight up, though that doesn’t interest Indiana much, per Lowe. If the Nuggets get involved again via three-way talks for George and Love, they could offer Gary Harris and a first-round pick, though NBA execs expect Harris to command upwards of $20MM annually on his next contract, which is due soon, says Lowe.

Here’s more from Lowe with the free agent period right around the corner:

  • Lowe views Hayward as less than a 50-50 bet to stay with the Jazz, with both the Celtics and Heat as legitimate suitors. The ESPN scribe adds that he wouldn’t be surprised if a mystery fourth team ends up getting a meeting with Hayward.
  • The market for Raptors big man Serge Ibaka and Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is expected to be in about the $20MM-per-year range, sources tell Lowe.
  • The Sixers have told player agents that they plan on signing one-year contracts in free agency this summer to preserve future cap space. They may also use some of their current cap room to sign Robert Covington to a renegotiated extension, writes Lowe.
  • Lowe expects the Bucks to sign Tony Snell to a deal in the range of $10-12MM annually.
  • Despite drafting De’Aaron Fox, the Kings may still spend on a free agent point guard as a veteran mentor, particularly if they decide they want to chase a playoff spot right away, says Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies are “crossing their fingers” that the market for RFA power forward JaMychal Green isn’t as competitive as expected, according to Lowe.

Sixers Exercise Team Option On Robert Covington

The Sixers have exercised their team option for the 2017/18 season on Robert Covington, the team announced today in a press release. A decision on the option had been due later this month.

[RELATED: NBA Team Option Decisions For 2017/18]

The move is a formality that has little impact on Philadelphia’s offseason plans, since Covington’s salary remains non-guaranteed even after his option has been exercised. According to Basketball Insiders’ data, $53,547 of Covington’s $1,577,230 salary for next season will become guaranteed on August 9, but the rest of his salary won’t be fully guaranteed until January.

Although Covington doesn’t really receive any more security with today’s transaction, there’s little doubt that the Sixers will eventually guarantee his ’17/18 salary. The four-year veteran, who is still on a minimum salary contract, has been a key contributor in Philadelphia’s rotation for the last few years. In 2016/17, he averaged 12.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.9 SPG, and 2.0 3PT, while playing solid perimeter defense.

Covington will be extension-eligible during the coming season, as he enters the final year of his contract. If he plays out his final year without working out a new deal with the Sixers, the 26-year-old is on track to reach unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018.

Sixers Hoping For Extension With Robert Covington

The Sixers will try to work out an extension with forward Robert Covington this summer, according to Michael Kaskey-Blomain of 97.3FM ESPN South Jersey.

Covington was a huge bargain this season, making a little over $1MM as a full-time starter. He appeared in 67 games, averaging 12.9 points and 6.5 rebounds, and developed into a feared defender.

Philadelphia has a team option on Covington for next season worth nearly $1.58MM and prefers to sign him to a long-term deal before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018. The team sees him as an important part of its rotation going forward — and possibly a continued starter — even when all its young talent is healthy, according to Kaskey-Blomain.

Covington just completed his third season with the Sixers, who signed him in 2014 after he was waived by the Rockets. The 26-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery last month for a meniscus tear in his right knee, but the procedure was described as minor and he should be fully recovered long before training camp.

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Simmons, George, Covington

Bryan Colangelo has become the least trusted GM in Philadelphia, charges Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hayes blasts Colangelo for being evasive about releasing injury details regarding Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric and others, and more recently for refusing to say whether Ben Simmons will play in the Summer League. The writer contends that Simmons needs the work to help with his transition to point guard and criticizes Colangelo for not being more open about the team’s plans.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • A long string of injuries and the February trades of Noel and Ersan Ilyasova made Colangelo’s first full season in charge look like another Sam Hinkie season, writes Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Ford adds that the team wasn’t able to address several important questions for the future of the franchise, such as whether Simmons can handle the point guard role, if he and Embiid are an effective combination and if Jerryd Bayless can be counted on as a starter.
  • Pacers forward Paul George might be worth a gamble if the Sixers want to make a splash this summer, Ford writes in a separate column. George has a player option for 2018/19, which means he will be effectively entering the final year of his contract next season. With rumors that he is interested in joining his hometown Lakers, Indiana may be tempted to move him in a trade instead of losing him with nothing in return. The Sixers have young talent to offer, and may have two high picks, depending on the results of next month’s lottery. “At the three, Robert Covington kind of has that position locked up with not a lot of depth at the position currently,” Colangelo recently told reporters. “But we’ve got some interesting draft prospects in the top 10 that happen to address that situation and that need.”
  • Covington underwent minor arthroscopic surgery this week to fix a meniscus tear in his right knee, the Sixers announced on their website. Covington will rehab the knee in Philadelphia and is expected to be ready for full basketball activities this summer.
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