Robert Covington, the first pick by the Grand Rapids Drive in the 2014 D-League Draft, is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers this week. According to David Pick, it'll be a four-year deal.
Look for the Philadelphia 76ers to sign Robert Covington this week. Hearing Sixers are poised to pluck Covington out of the @nbadleague— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 12, 2014
Covington, the reigning D-League Rookie of the Year, was amongst the last cuts made by the Houston Rockets heading into the 2013-2014 season. After a standout rookie campaign with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he averaged 23.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game, Covington struggled in the Rockets' Summer League and fell out of the rotation in preseason.
Instead of heading overseas, Covington opted to put his name in for the D-League Draft in the hope of landing an NBA contract at some point this season. In the process, he turned down an offer from CSKA Moscow, a powerhouse in the Euroleague. The Grand Rapids Drive, affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, wound up drafting him with the first pick.
The 76ers showed interest in Covington before the NBA season even kicked off. The two sides came close to an agreement late last month but the deal eventually broke apart once the two sides couldn't agree on the length of the contract. The deal was likely the same that the 76ers have offered the likes of second round Jerami Grant - the first two years being guaranteed with the two following being a team option. For the player at hand, it gives them some short-term security. For the team, it puts them in the driver's seat in a low-risk, high-reward scenario.
K.J. McDaniels, whom the 76ers drafted with the 32nd pick in this year's draft, took a more risky approach by turning down that offer and signing a one-year deal instead, giving him the opportunity to become a restricted free agent next offseason. If he continues to play as he has in the early goings of this season, he will likely garner a much larger contract than the 76ers originally offered him. It's possible that Covington was looking to do the same.
Earlier this offseason, Ridiculous Upside wrote about Covington's potential fit on the Houston Rockets. For the 76ers, who like to get up-and-down the court and shoot threes at a high volume, Covington could be a nice fit.