Despite currently holding the best record in the Western Conference in the 2019-20 season, rumors still continue to circulate that the Los Angeles Lakers are active on the trade market, hoping for roster upgrades. The team has already been linked to several NBA players who may be available on the market before next week’s deadline. As of now, one of the most intriguing targets for Los Angeles is Robert Covington of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to Sean Deveney of Heavy, of all the players connected to the Lakers, no one “makes more sense” than Covington. Aside from the fact that he’s currently in his prime, the forward’s playing style also fits the team’s system, and his potential arrival in Los Angeles would immediately address their need of a defensive-minded wingman. As Deveney noted, having a guy like Covington on their roster would give the Lakers someone who could be tasked to guard the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“The Lakers are short on defenders who can handle those kinds of matchups. That’s one reason they’ve been so consistently connected with Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala. Covington is signed for two years beyond this, but the numbers are reasonable–$25 million total—and he’s only 29. He doesn’t have the championship experience that Iguodala has, but he does have more to offer as a player still in his prime. The Lakers should do what they can to bring him to the purple-and-gold, which means finding a way to give the Wolves what they need in a return package.”
Aside from being a great defender, Covington could also help in terms of rebounding, scoring, and floor spacing. This season, the 29-year-old small forward is averaging 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.6 steals while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.
To acquire the former Tennessee State star, Deveney suggested that the Lakers could engage in a three-team deal with Minnesota and the New York Knicks. In the proposed trade scenario by Heavy, Los Angeles will get Covington, the Timberwolves will receive Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier, Taj Gibson, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Quinn Cook, while the Knicks will get acquire Gorgui Dieng, Avery Bradley, and a 2023 first-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
The suggested deal would not only be beneficial for the Lakers but also for the Timberwolves. In exchange for Covington, Minnesota would be acquiring three young and promising talents in Ntilikina, Trier, and Horton-Tucker who fit the timeline of the face of the franchise, Karl-Anthony Towns. Gibson and Cook may provide a veteran presence in the Timberwolves’ roster, but they could also be flipped to acquire more future draft assets before the February trade deadline.
Meanwhile, losing young players and absorbing longer contracts don’t seem to be ideal moves for the Knicks, but Deveney believes that getting a future first-round pick in return may be enough to convince New York to help the Lakers and the Timberwolves facilitate a three-team trade.