Robert Covington

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.

Atlantic Notes: Raps, Celtics, Rodriguez, Covington

Earlier today, we passed along Knicks president Phil Jackson‘s comments to reporters, including his assertion that Carmelo Anthony might be “better off somewhere else.” We also rounded up a few end-of-season items on the Sixers. We’ve still got a handful of Atlantic notes to relay, so let’s dive right in…

  • With the Raptors preparing to face the Bucks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes about how Toronto president Masai Ujiri “desperately” tried to trade into the 2013 NBA draft to nab Giannis Antetokounmpo. Of course, those efforts came up short, as Milwaukee selected Antetokounmpo with the No. 15 pick.
  • Appearing this week on WEEI, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was asked about Al Horford‘s impact in Boston this season and said he’d make the Horford signing “in one second” if he had the chance to do it over again. John Tomase of WEEI.com has the quotes and the details.
  • Veteran point guard Sergio Rodriguez is facing free agency and may not be back with the Sixers next season, but he said on Thursday that he’d like to “try to stay in the NBA and play a few more years here,” tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com. Rodriguez spent the previous six seasons with Real Madrid before signing with Philadelphia last summer.
  • Sixers forward Robert Covington is undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Covington’s recovery isn’t expected to take more than four to six weeks, so he should be good to go well before training camp.

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Brown, Colangelo, Embiid

Center Jahlil Okafor wasn’t among the players identified as “keepers” for next season by Sixers coach Brett Brown in a news conference today. Brown listed Ben Simmons, Joel EmbiidTimothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, Robert CovingtonDario Saric, Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Okafor was the subject of numerous trade rumors prior to February’s deadline. and his future with the organization remains uncertain. Brown said Okafor understands this is an important offseason for him (Twitter link), adding, “Our mission this summer is to get his body right.” (Twitter link). GM Bryan Colangelo, who also spoke to reporters today, didn’t say that trading Okafor will be a priority, but he noted, “If a deal comes along that makes sense for both, we’ll listen.” (Twitter link).

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown and Colangelo both identified shooting as the Sixers’ most pressing offseason need. Brown said the team also needs to find a backup power forward, sign some veterans, assess Simmons’ abilities as a point guard and find the right shooting guard to play alongside him, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.
  • Brown added that early-season injuries to Simmons and Jerryd Bayless were the biggest obstacles the Sixers faced in their 28-54 season (Twitter link). Simmons fractured a bone in his right foot during training camp and missed the entire year. Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal last offseason, tore a ligament in his left wrist during camp and was limited to three games. “You felt like you just blew out your backcourt in about a week,” Brown said.
  • The Sixers are expecting a much healthier version of Embiid next season, Pompey tweets. After missing his first two NBA seasons, Embiid was limited to 31 games in his rookie year. Although he played spectacularly, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid was on a minutes restriction and Philadelphia’s medical staff was very cautious about his availability. “I don’t think back-to-backs will be an issue” for Embiid next season, Colangelo said.
  • Colangelo promises an aggressive approach in free agency, saying, “If there is the right free agent to spend money on, we will.” (Twitter link). The Sixers will enter the July bidding with more than $50MM available under the salary cap. Colangelo also vowed to be “prudent and wise” with any signings (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Anderson, Rose

The Sixers may have found a long-term backup to injured big man Joel Embiid in 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes. Holmes, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, has thrived given the chance to fill in and step into a larger role.

Holmes has averaged 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 25.9 minutes per game since the All-Star break, about twice what he contributed for the Sixers prior to it.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown acknowledges the improvement and thinks that Holmes’ success could be here to stay. “I think a lot of the good teams have those lightning-in-the-bottle players that can just change a game,” Brown said. “You know, initially, you are wondering can he be one of those. Is he a duration player? I think since he’s come into the starting five, you are recognizing that there’s more durability.”

  • If the Knicks decide to release Derrick Rose, it will free up $18MM in cap room for them to find a point guard or draft one this offseason. As Bobby Marks of the Vertical explains on Twitter, the pending free agent otherwise has a $30MM cap hold set for this summer. Earlier today we wrote about Rose missing the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus.
  • Though the refs assigned Kyrie Irving a flagrant foul for his shove on Sixers forward Justin Anderson Friday night, the victim doesn’t take it personally. “He was just protecting his teammate, I think he saw LeBron James went down [on the previous play],” Anderson told Joe Noga of Cleveland.com.
  • Second-year forward Justin Anderson is getting his best opportunity to show the Sixers what he’s capable. Anderson has seen his role increase now that Robert Covington has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, writes Brian Seltzer of the Sixers’ official website. “My job is to go out there and make the most of it,” said Anderson. “It’s not to try and become All-Star in this little bit of time. My job is to show that, no matter what, this team can rely on me, I can be consistent, and bring the energy playing defense, rebounding the basketball, and then contributing on offensive end in many different ways.
  • The Celtics have been a model team for rebuilding clubs looking to turn their fates around, Taylor C. Snow of the Celtics’ official site writes. Rival Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek cites the roster full of hard-nosed guys as one of the major reasons behind their success.

Sixers Granted Injury Exception, Sign Alex Poythress

APRIL 2, 9:23am: The signing is official, the team announced in a press release.

APRIL 1, 11:37am: The Sixers have been granted an injury hardship exception, and will use their newfound roster spot to sign Alex Poythress of the D-League, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (twitter link).

Poythress, 23, received summer league experience with the Magic, and started 45 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season. A former Kentucky Wildcat, Poythress went undrafted after his senior year.

Having recently lost Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington for the season due to injuries, the Sixers‘ hardship exception permitted them to expand their roster size to 16. Poythress will presumably be available for Philadelphia’s match-up with Toronto on Sunday.

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