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Clippers In Review: How Robert Covington made himself irreplaceable

RoCo is just the latest example of a veteran who took advantage of a second chance with the Clippers.

New Orleans Pelicans v LA Clippers - Play-In Tournament Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to Clippers In Review, where we’ll be recapping the season for every player that ended the season in Los Angeles. Now, we’ll be reviewing eight-year NBA veteran Robert Covington who was acquired in the Eric Bledsoe-Norman Powell trade with the Trail Blazers earlier this year.

When the Clippers traded Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow for Norman Powell, Robert Covington was a part of that deal. For most, he was an afterthought, believed to be past his prime and far removed from his glory days with the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite that, he effectively carved out an important role on the team, and had a few moments that caught the attention of the NBA world. Of course I’m referring to his 43-point outburst against the Bucks late in the season, where he also set the franchise record for three pointers.

Those types of games are not a common occurrence, and his scoring might not necessarily be the biggest attraction to his game. He’s known most for his defense, which got him a spot on the All-Defensive First Team back in 2018, and his performance this season helped quell those who claimed his age was catching up with his defensive abilities. He averaged over one steal and one block in just 22 minutes per game with the Clippers in addition to posting his highest points-per-game average since the COVID-19 pandemic began, making it hard for anyone to argue that he’s a liability. In short, he’s delivered for the Clippers in the twilight of his career when no one expected him to, further cementing the veteran-friendly reputation Ty Lue and his team have fostered.

Covington is the type of role player to garner lots of attention from competitive teams across the league in search for a versatile 3-and-D wing that can make a tangible impact on both sides of the floor. The Clippers’ salary situation might end up being a significant obstacle to re-signing Covington, seeing that his one-year contract totaled more than $12 million. However, the Clippers’ front office, coaching staff, and RoCo himself have signaled their intentions to run it back for the 2022-23 season. Ty Lue has stated his desire to keep the whole roster intact, Lawrence Frank had nothing but good things to say about Covington, and RoCo has actively fought against misinformation on social media that suggests he’s on his way out of Los Angeles. The prospect of his return depends on a lot of factors, including Nico Batum’s player option, Hartenstein’s unrestricted free agency, and potential trades that the Clippers have floated, but if the players are as satisfied as they have made it seem, negotiating Covington’s return might be easier than we think.