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Robert Covington was the “one that got away” until the Rockets got him back

The Rockets get their guy.

Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Do you ever remember that boyfriend or girlfriend you dated when you were younger and always think about the idea of having a second chance with him or her because things are different now?

Well, the Rockets get that second chance with Robert Covington.

Twelve players found new homes late last night, and Covington (along with Jordan Bell and a second-rounder) now call Houston their new home.

In a four-team, 12-player trade, the Rockets traded Clint Capela and Nene Hilario to the Hawks, while Gerald Green and the Rockets 2020 first-round pick went to the Nuggets.

The Rockets have been intrigued by Robert Covington ever since he entered the league, and the Rockets signed him after the 2013 Draft.

He played sparingly in his rookie year, mainly playing in the Rio Grande Valley for the Vipers.

In 2014, Covington was one of the final cuts during training camp.

Two weeks later, Covington officially became the “one that got away” for the Rockets.

At the time, the Rockets were title contenders and the 76ers were trusting a “process,” which made for a much better fit for Covington.

For the next four-plus seasons, RoCo proved why he was the “one that got away.”

Covington averaged 15.4 points per game while shooting nearly 36 percent from beyond the three-point line. He also developed into one of the league’s best defenders, landing on the All-NBA Defensive First Team in his final full season in Philadelphia.

Covington became such a valuable piece that he became the primary player the Sixers traded to the Timberwolves in exchange for Jimmy Butler, whom the Rockets once offered four first-round picks for.

At 6’7”, Covington can guard any position one through five. While Covington will likely be assigned to guard opponents’ bigs like the LakersAnthony Davis or the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, he can also defend wings like the ClippersKawhi Leonard or Paul George.

While the haul to acquire Covington may look pricy, it was a deal that had to be done.

Covington’s three-point threat will space the floor more than when Capela was on the court, which is critical towards the Rockets’ success. Having Covington on the perimeter will also decrease the chance of teams doubling James Harden in the halfcourt as it will likely leave RoCo wide open in the corner.

Financially, the deal also makes sense for the Rockets. The team ducks right under the luxury tax with the trade and they also pay less over the life of the deal than Capela. Covington won’t make more than $13 million for the next two seasons, whereas Capela will make north of $16 million or more for the next three seasons.

This trade could totally blow up in the Rockets’ face and Capela could team up with Trae Young to form the next Stockton-Malone pairing or something. Covington could also be a complete dud. There’s no way of predicting the future at the moment.

However, the Rockets were unsatisfied with their current positioning and they did something about it.