Robert Covington

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Green, AD, Lakers, Clippers

Chris Mannix and Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated debate how long the Warriors should hold onto their young talent. Both writers believe that former lottery picks James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have the potential to be quality players down the road, but none are contributing much right now, and the bench has been a disaster after letting several players walk in free agency.

Mannix and Beck are confident that Jordan Poole will turn things around after a slow start, but if the bench continues to struggle into 2023, they’d start seriously considering making changes. SI’s duo believe the front office owes it to Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to maximize their chances of winning another title.

Here are a few more notes from the Pacific:

  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr recently made an adjustment to the rotation that seems to have stabilized the non-Curry minutes, with Green and Andrew Wiggins playing alongside three reserves in Poole, Donte DiVincenzo and Anthony Lamb. Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines the potential impact of the switch. “What am I doing?” Green said. “Number one, just trying to slow the unit down. That unit should not play as fast as the first unit. It should be more methodical. It should be more sets. It should be more patterned movements as opposed to random movements and random offense. I think, for me, it’s just trying to slow that unit down and then, number two, most importantly, make sure that unit is defending.”
  • Anthony Davis has been absolutely dominant for the Lakers over the past four games, averaging 35.5 PPG, 18.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.3 SPG and 2.5 BPG while shooting 62.3% from the floor and 92.0% from the charity stripe. Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group wonders if Davis’ stellar two-way play will make the front office more willing to deal away the team’s two available future first-round picks (2027 and 2029) to build around the 29-year-old, since Goon thinks that’s a more compelling reason to go all-in when compared to giving LeBron James the best chance to reach the playoffs at the end of his career.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is preaching patience to reserves John Wall and Robert Covington, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Wall has been frustrated by having to sit out back-to-backs because he feels fully healthy, but Lue noted that the veteran sat out all of last season, so the team is being cautious. As for Covington, he’s averaging his fewest minutes (13.8) since his rookie season back in ’13/14. “It’s a long season and we have so much talent and so much depth that I know it’s going to be times when people going to play and some people not,” Covington said. “I knew what was coming and knew what to expect at times. I’m not the type of person that’s going to complain about too much, I’m going to sit up there and call and be there ready when my number’s called.”
  • Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard (ankle) and Paul George (hamstring) have been ruled out for Friday’s contest against the Nuggets, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. There’s no timetable for either player to return.

Clippers Notes: George, Leonard, Popovich, Covington

The Clippers aren’t worried about Paul George, who sat out the second half of Saturday’s game because of soreness in his right knee, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. George didn’t speak to the media after the game, but coach Tyronn Lue said the condition isn’t believed to be serious. George spent the second half on the bench and felt good enough to help throw T-shirts to fans during a break in the action.

“He’s doing OK,” Lue said. “I haven’t seen what they (the medical staff) said happened to him, but I just know he had like a little tweak. But he says he is OK.”

Injuries have played a role in the team’s slow start, but George has been reliable so far, missing just one game because of a non-COVID illness. He was limited to 31 games last season due to a torn UCL in his right elbow.

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Kawhi Leonard embraced Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after Saturday’s game, indicating that any hard feelings are gone from Leonard’s bitter exit from San Antonio, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Leonard has never spoken much about what happened with the Spurs, but he told reporters Saturday that his time with Popovich helped him to improve. “He meant a lot, he’s the reason why I’m the player I am today,” Leonard said. “Built that foundation on showing me winning basketball and yeah, he’s a great coach. Still one of the best coaches I had. We been in too many battles to have a scar on our relationship.”
  • The Clippers were happy to welcome Leonard back to the lineup this week, but that meant many adjustments had to be made, Greif adds in a separate story. With Leonard and George able to carry the offense, other players are adapting to complementary roles. Nicolas Batum said the “rhythm is different, the passing is different, the players are different because two years ago we literally had two guys who could create open shots, when you have PG and Kawhi.”
  • Lue said he told Robert Covington “thank you for sacrificing” as the veteran forward has played single-digit minutes in four of his last five appearances, Greif tweets. Lue added that Covington will eventually see more playing time, but the team is trying to establish a rhythm with its current rotation.

Clippers Notes: Lue, Leonard, George, Covington

The Clippers are under .500 after three straight losses, but coach Tyronn Lue won’t entertain any thoughts of panic, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “Sky is not falling, or nothing like that,” Lue told reporters before today’s practice.

L.A. has one of the most talented rosters in the league and is considered among the favorites to win the Western Conference. Injuries have factored into the slow start, but Lue’s emphasis is on doing basic things correctly, regardless of who’s on the court.

“My message is just play the right way, create good habits,” he said. “You are not going to win every game, but we got to play better and we understand that. But my biggest thing is just creating good habits. If we do it on both sides of the basketball, we will be fine.”

The Clippers are coming off consecutive losses to the rebuilding Thunder, which is concerning in what could be a tight race for the top spot in the West. However, the players understand there are a lot of games left to turn things around.

“Obviously, we want to win and every game is important for us,” Luke Kennard said. “We want to be a high seed in the West at the end of the regular season. So, I think if we have that sense of urgency right now, taking it one game at a time, it’s going to help us with that. But at the same time, like I said, with guys kind of being in and out, you still have to be patient and just trust in what we’re doing and what we’re kind of building here.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Kawhi Leonard will sit out his third straight game Sunday as part of injury management for his surgically repaired right knee, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Leonard felt stiffness in the knee during the morning shootaround before Tuesday’s game at Oklahoma City. He returned to L.A. for treatment and didn’t play on Thursday. Sunday’s game will be the first of a back-to-back, and Leonard has said he probably won’t play both games in those situations.
  • Paul George admits his “window is shrinking” to be an NBA champion, so he’s determined to make the most of this opportunity, Youngmisuk adds in a separate story. “I’m more focused than I ever been,” said George, who’s in his 13th NBA season. “You talk about locked in, I am locked into this year. I mean that’s what you’re going to get, a leader and just whatever it takes. That’s always been my attitude and the spirit I carry. I’m prepared and understand what the assignment is this year. Winning it all.”
  • Robert Covington has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will miss Sunday’s game, Turner tweets.

Pacific Notes: Covington, Sarver, Kings, Lakers

Robert Covington prioritized a chance to win a title over maximizing his salary when he agreed to a two-year, $24MM extension with the Clippers in May, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Covington might have been able to earn more on the open market, but he feels wanted in L.A. and likes the talent that’s surrounding him.

“I talked with my agent and he kind of picked my brain on everything on what I wanted to do and I basically told him that at this point in my career I want to win,” Covington explained. “I’ve had a big contract, but I wanted to be in a position where I can win and I can really contribute to a contending team. We’ve seen what we had here and everybody, even the team talked about, ‘We want you back, want you back,’ players, everybody talked about next year. Just the consistency and the commitment that even after my last day there everybody still was preaching me coming back and I took that into account. Everyone expressed how much they wanted me to come back.”

The expected return of Kawhi Leonard, who missed all of last season due to injury, and the addition of free agent guard John Wall give the Clippers possibly the most talent in the Western Conference. Their depth also makes it difficult to identify who will get consistent playing time, but Covington believes that will work itself out.

“I know what they brought me here for,” he said. “They brought me here to knock down shots, defend, make the game easy, disrupt as much as I can, that’s why they brought me back.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

Clippers Sign Robert Covington To Two-Year Extension

MAY 8: The Clippers have confirmed that they will have extended Covington on a two-year deal, per a team announcement (Twitter link). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.


MAY 5: The Clippers and forward Robert Covington have reached a two-year, $24MM contract extension agreement, agent Andrew Morrison of CAA Basketball told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Covington was headed to unrestricted free agency this summer, but has opted to stay put rather than testing the market.

Because he was traded less than six months ago, Covington was ineligible to sign an extension longer than two years or worth more than $27.9MM prior to the start of free agency in July. His new deal fits within both of those limits.

Covington was acquired along with Norman Powell from the Trail Blazers in early February in exchange for Eric BledsoeJustise Winslow, rookie Keon Johnson and a 2025 second-round pick.

The Clippers were without superstar Kawhi Leonard all season and went a good chunk of the season without their other star, Paul George. Covington could play a key defensive role with the high-scoring duo back in the lineup.

In 23 games with the Clippers, Covington averaged 10.4 PPG on 50% shooting, including 45% on 3-point attempts. He had a career-high 43 points on a franchise-record 11 3-pointers against the Bucks on April 1.

Covington stated after L.A.’s play-in tournament loss to New Orleans that he was excited about the possibility of re-signing with the Clippers.

“The way that we played tonight when we went small, imagine PG and Kawhi in that lineup,” he said. “That’s a lot of versatility … Once them guys come back next year, if I’m here, I’m really looking forward to that.”

Clippers executive Lawrence Frank recently expressed interest in retaining Covington: “RoCo was very, very good for us. I’m excited to hear that he likes it here. We look forward and we’d like to be able to keep him here.”

Covington, 31, has played for Houston, Philadelphia and Minnesota as well as Portland and the Clippers.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Wiseman, CP3, Johnson, Covington

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he and the team’s training staff feel good about Klay Thompson‘s health status, and that fatigue isn’t a factor in Thompson’s shooting slump, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Thompson has shot 11-for-38 from the field in the first two games against Memphis, including 5-of-22 from deep and 0-of-2 from the line, but he did hit a crucial go-ahead three-pointer late in Game 1.

Kerr also said that no matter how far the Warriors advance in the playoffs, they won’t consider playing James Wiseman, who was ruled out for the season at the end of March (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of Andscape). Wiseman had a couple of knee surgeries over the past 13 months and experienced some setbacks in his rehab.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic details how Suns star Chris Paul has been dominating the playoffs. Paul, who turned 37 today, is averaging ridiculous numbers through eight games: 22.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 9.9 assists (against 1.6 turnovers) and 1.6 steals on .580/.333/.970 shooting. He’s shooting 67.4% on twos. That is not a typo. Paul’s been arguably the best player in the postseason to this point, says Hollinger. (Side note: Paul has seven turnovers in the first half of Game 3 against the Mavericks, which is in progress. That figure represents a career-high for a half, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets. The Suns currently trail 51-44.)
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams has been working with Cameron Johnson on his post play recently, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. “Just teaching him how to use his strength a little bit,” Williams said. “He’s got some tools down there. Just talking to him about balance and footwork and stuff like that.” Johnson is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer. He was a finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year award, which went to Tyler Herro.
  • Robert Covington‘s newly-inked two-year, $24MM extension with the Clippers is fully guaranteed, with no option in the second year, reports Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).

Pacific Notes: Brown, Green, Clippers Tax Bill

Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown is prepared to accept the Kings head coaching job if they offer it to him, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports.

The former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach sees Sacramento as a “good job,” according to his agent, Warren LeGarie“Mike is willing to take the job based on the fact that he knows he’ll be supported and have a chance to win,” LeGarie said.

Brown came to Sacramento on Thursday to meet with team representatives. The two other finalists for the job, Steve Clifford and Mark Jackson, had their second interviews with the Kings earlier this week.

The job is attractive to Brown in a number of ways.

“First and foremost, he likes the people who are working there,” LeGarie said. “He loves the arena. He thinks that’s a natural resource that will help attract players because you’ve always got to have a place where the fans are involved and the facilities are terrific. And he believes the team has enough talent to give them a real solid chance of becoming a playoff contender.”

We have more Pacific Division news:

  • Warriors forward Draymond Green has been fined $25K for directing an obscene gesture toward Memphis fans during Game 2, according to the NBA (Twitter link). Green flipped both middle fingers toward the crowd as he left the playing court for medical assistance after sustaining an eye injury during the first quarter on Tuesday.
  • Green practiced in full on Thursday and he expects to play for the Warriors in Game 3, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. His right eye remains swollen and he met with a plastic surgeon/ophthalmologist on Wednesday.
  • Robert Covington‘s agreed-upon two-year extension dramatically escalates the Clippers’ projected tax bill, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. That figure jumps from $17.8MM to $54.9MM.

Clippers’ Lawrence Frank Talks Roster, Offseason, More

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday for his annual postseason press conference, Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said the team will look to upgrade the roster this summer after a disappointing end to 2021/22, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group.

We’re going to have to look at areas of improvement,” Frank said. “We want to make sure that we maximize our opportunities and be able to do something that’s never been done in the history of this organization.”

The Clippers failed to advance to the playoffs after losing both of their play-in tournament games, partly due to the season-long absence of Kawhi Leonard (ACL recovery) and Paul George‘s elbow injury (as well as his positive COVID-19 result the day of the second play-in loss). Frank said the team’s inability to win a championship with its star wings has shown “how fragile the difference between winning and losing is,” but he’ll use the playoff absence as “fuel for a great offseason,” per Swanson.

Frank said he’s encouraged by Leonard’s recovery progress, but declined to give any timetables for a potential return.

Here’s more from Frank’s press conference, courtesy of Swanson:

  • L.A. holds the Bird rights to unrestricted free agent Robert Covington, who recently said he was intrigued by the idea of playing with Leonard and George. Frank said he was happy to hear that, because the team would like to bring him back. “RoCo was very, very good for us. I’m excited to hear that he likes it here. We look forward and we’d like to be able to keep him here.”
  • Isaiah Hartenstein is also a free agent, but the Clips only holds his Non-Bird rights. The big man surpassed Frank’s expectations this season. “We actually recruited Isaiah … we put a lot of effort into it,” said Frank, who noted Hartenstein’s qualities, including his play-making, paint protection, floater and chemistry with the team. “Now, did we think he was going to be able to deliver at this high a level? No.”
  • From a developmental perspective, the Frank said the season was a great success, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. “From a process standpoint [it] went better than expected,” Frank said, calling the development of the team’s young players a “huge silver lining.”
  • League sources tell Greif the team will look to add a point guard this summer, but Frank was coy when asked about the possibility. “The game now is played a little bit differently, there are some obviously elite point guards in the league, but a lot of teams are playing through their wings like we do,” Frank said. “So I look at it as do we have enough play initiators between Kawhi, PG, Norm [Norman Powell], Reggie [Jackson], Terance [Mann]? I don’t know; we’ll look at it. We’re not averse to it, but we’ll continue to evaluate and see if we have to address it.”
  • Frank is hopeful that Jason Preston (foot surgery) and Jay Scrubb (turf toe surgery) will be ready for Summer League, Greif relays.

Clippers Notes: Leonard, George, Covington, Batum, Hartenstein, Outlook

The Clippers were a much more optimistic bunch than most teams after getting eliminated from playoff contention, Jim Alexander of the Orange County Register writes. That’s due to the return of perennial All-Star Kawhi Leonard from his knee injury, plus the expectation that Paul George will have better injury luck next season.

In addition to being out for most of the season due to an elbow injury, George missed Friday’s play-in tournament loss to New Orleans after testing positive for COVID-19.

We get our main guys back. I mean, we can be dangerous,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “I think when you get Kawhi and PG back healthy, Norm (Powell for) a full season … this team can be pretty special. But it’s all about health. Our young guys (Terance Mann, Amir Coffey, (Luke) Kennard, Ivica Zubac), all those guys have (had) a chance to develop and play meaningful games. They played big for us. Our veteran guys, we already talked about what Marcus (Morris), Nico (Batum), Reggie (Jackson) have brought to this team. We got to get back, get back to the drawing board. But I’m very excited for this group, the guys coming back.”

We have more on the Clippers:

  • Robert Covington will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but the prospect of playing with Leonard and George is enticing to him, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets“The way that we played tonight when we went small, imagine PG and Kawhi in that lineup,’ he said. “That’s a lot of versatility … Once them guys come back next year, if I’m here, I’m really looking forward to that.”
  • By trading for Covington, the Clippers also acquired his Bird rights, which will allow them to exceed the salary cap and luxury tux to retain him, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes in his guide to the team’s offseason. They don’t have a first-rounder due to the George trade but they will have two trade exceptions of $9.7MM and $8.3MM, plus the taxpayer mid-level exception of $6.3MM, to make roster upgrades.
  • Another potential decision is whether to re-sign Batum if he declines his $3.3MM option, Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype notes in his offseason preview. They hold Non-Bird rights on another unrestricted free agent, Isaiah Hartenstein. Gozlan also breaks down the remaining salary due to each player on the roster.
  • After blowing two chances to make the playoffs, the Clippers are in typical wait-til-next-year mode, Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times opines. Despite the rosy outlook, the Clippers can’t guarantee that Leonard will regain his pre-injury form, that the chemistry will be the same or that someone else won’t get hurt.

And-Ones: Selden, Brantley, MVP, OTE, Shue

Veteran shooting guard Wayne Selden, who began the 2021/22 season with the Knicks, has signed with Ironi Ness Ziona in Israel, the team announced in a press release. Selden has appeared in 127 total NBA games for Memphis, Chicago, New Orleans, and New York since 2016. He spent the 2020/21 campaign with Ironi Ness Ziona, so the move represents a reunion for the two sides.

Former Jazz forward Jarrell Brantley is among the other NBA veterans who has signed with a team outside the NBA. Puerto Rico’s Leones de Ponce announced today in a press release that they’ve signed Brantley to a short-term deal. The former second-round pick played in 37 games for Utah from 2019-21 before he was waived last September.

Here are a few more notes from around the basketball world:

  • Cole Huff of The Athletic singles out three under-the-radar veterans who are playing well after changing teams at the trade deadline nearly two months ago, highlighting Clippers forward Robert Covington, Spurs wing Josh Richardson, and Pistons big man Marvin Bagley III.
  • Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the top contenders for this season’s Most Valuable Player award, but it looks like upwards of a dozen candidates could receive top-five votes. A panel of ESPN writers took a closer look at the field.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony outlines the biggest takeaways from year one of the Overtime Elite league and explores what’s next for OTE. It became clear quickly that Overtime Elite is a “serious, ambitious venture with significant financial backing,” Givony writes.
  • Gene Shue, a five-time NBA All-Star from 1958-62 and a two-time Coach of the Year in 1969 and 1982, passed away at age 90 on Monday, writes Tony Garcia of The Detroit Free Press. Shue enjoyed much of his success as a player in Fort Wayne and Detroit, then coached the Bullets (Baltimore and Washington), Clippers (San Diego and Los Angeles), and Sixers for over two decades.