NBA Trade Rumors: Jazz Eye Blazers' Robert Covington amid Rudy Gobert's Injury

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 25, 2022

Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington (33) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Denver. The Nuggets won 140-108. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Utah Jazz have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington prior to the Feb. 10 trade deadline.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein (h/t RealGM), the Jazz covet Covington because of their desire to land a strong wing defender.

Stein also noted that Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant is Utah's No. 1 target. However, the Pistons aren't interested in taking Jazz guard Joe Ingles' $13 million contract along with a first-round pick.

Utah's best defender, center Rudy Gobert, missed Monday's game against the Phoenix Suns after suffering a calf strain against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Covington tends to be a hot name around the trade deadline, which is likely why he has played for four teams over the past four seasons.

In 43 games this season, the archetypal 3-and-D wing is averaging 7.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.7 three-pointers made, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 assists per contest.

His field-goal percentage of 39.5 percent leaves something to be desired, but he is shooting a solid 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Covington averaged at least 12 points per game in six straight seasons from 2014-15 through 2019-20, but he has been below double digits in each of the past two years.

That likely isn't much of a factor for the Jazz, though, as they receive plenty of offensive production from the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Gobert, Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley.

The Jazz are banged up, with several players listed as day-to-day, but even at full health, they don't have a rugged wing defender like the 6'7" Covington.

The 2017-18 NBA All-Defensive First Team selection also has 28 games of playoff experience, which would come in handy for a Utah team that is almost certainly playoff bound.

It seems likely that the Blazers would be willing to part ways with Covington since will be a free agent in the offseason. The one thing that could give them pause, however, is the fact that they are still in the playoff race as well.

Despite being 20-26, Portland is 10th in the Western Conference, meaning it would get to take part in a postseason play-in game if the regular season ended today. That could prevent the Blazers from selling, although how they perform between now and the deadline may be what leads to the final decision.

The 30-18 Jazz are fourth in the West and are undoubtedly contenders to go to the NBA Finals, but it does feel like they need another piece or two. Covington could fill one of their biggest needs.