The Portland Trailblazers just recently sent veteran wing Kent Bazemore and two second-round picks to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan, Wenyen Gabriel. This was a step in the right direction after it became clear the injury-riddled Trail Blazers desperately needed additional depth.
The clear headliner of this trade is Ariza and the 34-year-old small forward was impressive in his Trail Blazers debut scoring 21 points. However, if they want to get back into playoff contention, they need more. Ariza has put up per-game averages of 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds with Sacramento and with his age, he is no longer in his prime.
Enter: Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington. He is one of the best ‘three-and-D’ players in the NBA and is the type of player that can fit with any roster or system. He has been consistently mentioned in trade rumors throughout the season.
With Minnesota this season, Covington is putting up averages of 12.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He earned All-Defensive Team honors two seasons ago and can guard just about every position.
At 6-foot-7 and 211-pound with strength and quickness to match, Covington would be the perfect pairing to the offensive-minded game of Carmelo Anthony. Portland is just 2.5 games out of the eighth seed right now but unless they can get healthy soon, it doesn’t look great for a team that made the Western Conference Finals last year.
Covington is pretty much just a younger and better version of Ariza. The 29-year-old has been in trade rumors pretty much all season and Portland seems like a perfect landing spot.
The team just made a trade so maybe they’re hesitant to make another move. However, when your team ranks 25th in the NBA in points allowed per game, adding one of the league’s best defenders is something the organization should at least consider.
Covington is under contract for the next two seasons, so Portland will have to find a way to make the money work. However, he could be the boost that the Trail Blazers need if they want to get back to being a perennial playoff team in the West.
Obviously the injuries to players like Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Rodney Hood are a big reason for the team’s disappointing season but they’re not all to blame. As it stands now, the Trail Blazers are not a playoff team or at best, a seventh or eighth seed.
The team obviously had high expectations going into this season and for good reason. But, simply put, they haven’t come close to those expectations and added an underrated piece like Robert Covington would help the team in a multitude of ways.