Rockets Trade Rumors: Robert Covington No Longer Interests HOU Ahead of Deadline

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2020

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington (33) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 109-100. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets have reportedly "cooled" on Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington ahead of the 2020 NBA trade deadline on Feb. 6. 

Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported Friday the Rockets showed "previous interest" in Covington, but the team "isn't currently a bidder for his services" with less than three weeks until the deadline.

Houston general manager Daryl Morey told Iko the front office is confident in the roster's ability to make a run at this year's NBA championship without a blockbuster addition.

"I think we have the players that can do it," Morey said. "We just gotta get it there. I mean, our first focus is always [to] win with what we got. And then obviously my job is to look at other things, but I think everyone's focus is we got good players and let's make it happen."

The Rockets feature the superstar guard tandem of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, while center Clint Capela has been a force on the interior since the calendar flipped to 2020. He's averaged 18 points and 16.2 rebounds across five January games.

Houston has surrounded that trio with veteran power forward PJ Tucker and a group of three-point sharpshooters led by Eric Gordon, Ben McLemore and Danuel House Jr.

Although it's one of the NBA's most well-rounded rosters, as evidenced by the team's 26-14 record, questions have been raised about whether they need another impact player to truly compete with the top-tier title contenders in the Western Conference like the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.

That's the role Covington would have filled. He's averaged 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks in 39 appearances for the Wolves this season.

He would've likely taken over as Houston's starting power forward in the stretch 4 role, allowing Tucker to play a more multifaceted role off the bench.

It's a move that makes sense on paper, particularly if the Rockets consider themselves all-in on trying to chase down the 2020 title. But that's not necessary since none of the team's main contributors are potential free agents this offseason.

So it sounds like Houston has moved on from its Covington pursuit with Morey taking on a more conservative approach leading up to the deadline.

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