Fan-favorite Robert Covington returns to Philadelphia

FILE – Los Angeles Clippers forward Robert Covington (23) plays during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, in Seattle. James Harden got his trade to the Clippers. The Sixers sent Harden, P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrušev to Los Angeles for Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, K.J. Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 draft-pick swap and additional first-rounder from a third team, a person familiar with the trade told The Associated Press Tuesday, Oct. 31.(AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

Last month, the Philadelphia 76ers traded James Harden, PJ Tucker, and Filip Petrusev to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Marcus Morris Sr., Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap and an additional first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN.

While there were reasons for excitement for each of the players acquired: Morris hails from Philadelphia, Batum fills a sorely needed veteran forward role, and Martin is an exciting young forward, there’s one name on the list that fans are particularly excited for. Of all the players acquired, the most exciting for those who have long rooted for the Sixers is none other than Process fan-favorite Robert Covington.

Covington, a 32-year-old forward from Bellwood, Illinois, played four seasons with the Sixers before being traded along with fellow fan-favorite Dario Šarić for Jimmy Butler in November of 2018. After five years, Covington is back in the City of Brotherly Love, and he’s happy to be here.

A homecoming for Robert Covington

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 07: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Robert Covington (33) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 07, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

“This is where I put my name on the map,” Covington said after his first practice back in Philly. “It feels great to be back. I’ve been in this building when it first opened, seeing the amount of hours that was spent putting into the development here. It’s just amazing to be back. I’m thankful for the new opportunity under Nick and them. This organization has been very special to me. Just for everything to come back into the fold… It’s a new feeling of relief. I’m thankful that, like I said, I get to come back and just have a second go-around.”

In his four seasons with the Sixers before being traded away, Covington was known as a sharpshooter and a defensive weapon, and along with the rest of the FEDS (and TJ McConnell), one of the main players of the Process. Since being traded to Minnesota, Covington has played for the Rockets, the Trail Blazers, and finally, the Clippers.

Covington has proved to be incredibly valuable on the defensive end of the court — averaging 5.7 defensive rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game since the 2019-20 season. Covington, to this day, can hold his own on both ends of the court and will hopefully take some of the defensive effort off of Patrick Beverley and De’Anthony Melton’s shoulders while serving as a familiar face for Joel Embiid.

Since being traded back to Philadelphia, Covington has played in three games—only for small pockets of time—but he’s getting used to being back in Philadelphia day by day. In his first game back in Philly, the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he checked in. On November 6th, he logged 7 points in 4 minutes and hyped up the crowd for Bricken for Chicken, returning to his tradition of going hard for the formerly named Frosty Freeze-Out.

Per PSN’s Sean Barnard, Covington hopes to break the franchise record for three-pointers made. In his four years with the Sixers, Covington logged 707 three-point shots made—the second-highest in franchise history, behind just Allen Iverson with 885.

“He’s got some ability, athletically, size, strength, pretty good off-the-ball stuff, and then he’s trying really hard,” Sixers head coach Nick Nurse said about Covington after Saturday’s win against the Phoenix Suns. “That goes a long way at that end of the floor, so that’s good to see, and he seems confident.”