Robert Covington found out Sixers traded him to Minnesota on social media
Star forward Jimmy Butler was being heavily coveted by teams like the Houston Rockets and the Miami Hear, yet the Sixers — now his current team — remained as one of the franchises with an outside shot to garner his services.
“I found out on social media,: said Covington, according to Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It was like five minutes before the team meeting, then Brett [Brown, the Sixers’ coach] called me and EB [general manager Elton Brand] called me, but I already knew. By then it was already out there. That’s how I found out.”
The call was more straightforward than expected, rather part of a business transaction than a personal acknowledgement of his contributions and the five-year loyalty to the franchise.
“It was really clear-cut and dry,” Covington said of the phone call. “As far as having that respect level, and for how much we’d been through, I would have thought it had to be completely different, but it wasn’t. Considering how much time relationship-wise and everything that went down. … It was weird.”
Covington was a teammate of now-GM Elton Brand, who went into the organization’s executive ranks shortly after retiring from the game. Brand and Covington were close back in the day but not anymore.
“It probably was cold,” Brand said of the split with Covington. “I would talk to those guys about anything and everything … and now we don’t talk anymore. With my new role and my new job, it’s tough to make those decisions. The relationship is real, but it’s tough because it becomes transactional. I can see how he would think it was cold, for sure.”
Brand likely was forced to put his relationship on the back of his mind to make this decision, as a franchise-altering move for the Sixers had little to no room for emotional attachment when vying for one of the league’s premier players.