NBA Rumors: Two Teams Emerge As Frontrunners For Timberwolves Forward Robert Covington, Per Marc Stein

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington looks on during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
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A new report suggests that there are two teams considered as the top favorites to trade for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington prior to Thursday’s deadline. These teams, however, may have to pay a steep price to acquire the veteran’s services.

Early on Monday morning, Marc Stein of The New York Times took to Twitter to share a number of rumors in anticipation of the February 6 trade deadline, including the latest update on Covington’s situation with the Timberwolves. Citing league sources, Minnesota is apparently hoping to acquire two future first-round draft picks for the 29-year-old forward. And while there were no specific trade packages discussed for these teams, Stein concluded by saying that the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets stand out so far as Covington’s most likely destinations, assuming the Timberwolves are able to move him.

Although he has yet to earn any other individual honors aside from a spot on the 2017-18 NBA All-Defensive First Team, Covington has developed a reputation as one of the league’s best “three-and-D” players, thanks to his combination of sharp outside shooting and tough defense. Per Basketball-Reference, he is averaging 12.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.6 steals, plus shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from three-point range for the Timberwolves, who are in 14th place out of 15 teams in the Western Conference with a 15-33 record.

Interestingly, the Sixers and the Rockets happen to be the teams Covington played for before he was traded to Minnesota early in the 2018-19 season in the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia. According to Bleacher Report, both of these organizations also appear to be in need of someone like Covington, as they are firmly in the playoff picture but a few seeds removed from the top four, with similar weaknesses in terms of bench scoring.

Regarding Covington’s other strengths, the outlet added that the former second-round pick might be more beneficial to the Rockets, who are only ranked 15th in the league in defensive efficiency, as opposed to the fifth-ranked Sixers.

Aside from Houston and Philadelphia, a few other teams have been rumored in recent weeks to be interested in acquiring Covington from Minnesota. These include the Los Angeles Lakers, who, as previously speculated by NBA insider Sean Deveney, could make a lot of sense as a midseason acquisition due to the team’s needs for a defensive-minded wing player. Such a deal, however, might require the involvement of a third team, with Deveney proposing a trade that also involves a number of players from the New York Knicks.