Via his latest write-up, The Athletic’s insider Shams Charania reports that Houston is one of three teams currently interested in trading for Robert Covington. The Wolves, in what appears to be an effort to acquire D’Angelo Russell, already unloaded Jeff Teague earlier this week, but Charania claims that it doesn’t mean they’ll just let go of Covington.
Covington has become a coveted player, with his defensive prowess and outside shooting an ideal fit for most teams in the playoff hunt. Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia are among the teams who have expressed interest in Covington, but Minnesota is expected to drive a hard bargain, league sources said.
Minnesota has every right to too. Covington is an asset that can take a team on the brink and make them a legitimate contender, so whether or not teams believe they’re looking to unload players, the Timberwolves know that they’d still be willing to pay up for the recently turned 29-year-old forward.
It’s no secret that Houston is willing to pay too. Rumors of Houston’s interest in the wing dates back over a month, with the return of this rumor all but confirming it. Still, does Houston have anything that Minnesota is looking for, and are the Timberwolves even willing to hear a pitch from them?
Despite how savvy GM Daryl Morey has been in the past, and continues to be, the Wolves weren’t interested at all in trade Jimmy Butler to Houston a few years back because they didn’t want to do business with a Western Conference rival. Even then, now Houston is unable to trade the asset that interested Minny the most: Eric Gordon. That means that Houston will have to possibly look at moving P.J. Tucker to make this work.
There’s also going to be a conversation of tax luxury again, as Covington is making $11.3 million this year. Houston, who is very publicly under the luxury tax right now, will have to look at moving several contracts, along with some picks that the Timberwolves will surely want, in order to nab Covington and stay below the luxury tax. Or, maybe they move only the pieces that Minnesota wants and hit the luxury.
Houston in currently in a three-out-of-four-game skid, and the Feb. 6 trade deadline is fast approaching. It’ll be interesting to see if and how the team is able to get this deal done with their backs again the wall.
Will they? Won’t they? Are they? Aren’t they? Welcome to trade season, y’all.