The NBA trade deadline is three days away and it’s no secret the Sixers are looking to upgrade their roster and improve their chances of winning an NBA Finals. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Philadelphia 76ers are interested in trading for Robert Covington.
Ambitious as it sounds, Minnesota has sought two first-round picks in exchange for Robert Covington in advance of Thursday's trade deadline, league sources say. Let's see where the Wolves land if/when they actually deal him, with Philly and Houston at the front of the RoCo line— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 3, 2020
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard reports about the Sixers being interested in Covington. But it’s interesting that an NBA insider made sure to mention Covington, the Sixers, and the Rockets. Stein also mentioned that the Timberwolves are very interested in trading for D’Angelo Russell and that the Golden State Warriors are looking to trade Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks before the deadline.
So what does it mean to be at the front of the RoCo line? I think it’s more of a comment on the Sixers’ eagerness and aggressiveness to try than it is a comment on the nearing of a deal. That said, it does sound like Minnesota is pretty motivated to move Covington and talks have plenty of time to get serious before 3:00 pm Thursday. Two firsts is a lot, but you need to start your asking price high, right?
An acquisition of Covington doubles down on the Sixers strengths more so than it addresses their weaknesses, giving Philly another long, disruptive, versatile defender who is comfortable slinging from deep. You can never have enough of those of course.
While some fans would like to see the team explore a trade of Al Horford to bring back some more halfcourt creation and open up the Sixers’ spacing, it doesn’t sound like that is going to happen. On his podcast Sunday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said the following of the Sixers and Horford:
You look at their roster and you go, okay, they don’t want to trade Al Horford. They brought Al Horford in there because they wanted his size there. They’re trying to beat Milwaukee. They want to beat the Bucks to win the East and they need size to do that and they need Al Horford to do that.
To me, this sounds like Woj is pretty clear on the Sixers philosophy. The Sixers may just look to add high quality depth to their rotation without sending out any key pieces (think starting lineup plus Matisse). If that’s their strategy, then landing RoCo does make sense as a sort of super 6th man who could play starter minutes depending on match up.