The Portland Trail Blazers were among the teams that made the early moves when the NBA lifted its moratorium on team transactions last Monday.
The defending champions Lakers drew first blood by adding Dennis Schroder to their title roster. Phoenix was next when it acquired Chris Paul from Oklahoma City. Then the Milwaukee Bucks made good on their promise to give back to back MVP winner Giannis Antetokounmpo a better supporting cast when they traded for Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Portland joined the fray when it bagged 3-and-D forward Robert Covington from the Houston Rockets:
Rockets are finalizing a trade sending Robert Covington to Blazers in exchange for Trevor Ariza, a 2020 first-round and 2021 protected first-round pick, per @wojespnpic.twitter.com/T3jvYxBOpM
In getting Covington, the Blazers had to part with Trevor Ariza, the 16th pick of the 2020 Draft, and another first-rounder. Because of league rules, the deal cannot be finalized until after Wednesday’s draft. But it’s set in stone and the Blazers are adding an important piece that could help them go deeper in the playoffs this season.
Portland Trail Blazers acquired Robert Covington for Trevor Ariza and two first-round picks. Blazers get an excellent 3 and D wing to complement Lillard and McCollum pic.twitter.com/66yL6qRfZ0
The 29-year old undrafted player from Tennessee State has emerged as one of the best role players in the league. His ability to knock down the three-ball (35.6% career average) and play lock down defense on the opposing team’s star players make him a valuable asset, especially to a Portland team that ranked in the bottom five in the league in points allowed last season.
Covington was part of the four-team, twelve-player trade that sent Rockets center Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks during last season’s trade deadline.
The 6-7 forward has become one of the NBA’s top defenders and has averages of 12.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in seven NBA seasons. During the 2020 playoffs, he averaged 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 2.5 steals per game for the small ball Rockets.
Right Trade at Right Time
The Covington trade seems like it was the right trade at the right time. That’s because shortly after it was announced, Blazers forward Rodney Hood revealed that he is declining the $6M player option on his current contract. By doing so, Hood will hit the free agency market and leave a void in the Portland lineup.
Rodney Hood will not exercise his player option, @wojespn reports. Hood, who tore his Achilles last December, could have returned to Portland on a $6 million deal in 2020-21. https://t.co/1uYWERY0tz
Hood is coming off a season where he played in just 21 games because of a torn Achilles injury. He averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game during his abbreviated 2019-20 campaign. The 28-year old Duke University product has had nearly a year to recover from his injury given the suspension of the previous campaign and should be ready to play right away with a new team.
It can be recalled that Hood played a key role during Portland’s run to the 2019 Western Conference Finals. He hit some big baskets for the Blazers during the playoffs and averaged 9.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting 46.8% from the field and 35.3% from deep.
Portland Falls in the Oddsboards
But while the Blazers prevented a vacuum by getting Covington before losing Hood, the sportsbooks appeared not to look at it that way. In the latest NBA Championship odds board at online sportsbook BetOnline.ag, the Blazers have fallen from +3300 last month to +5000 as of 11/18/20. But does that really have to do with Robert Covington? Probably not.
It’s a no because the drop was most probably precipitated by the big trades and news related to the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, and Brooklyn Nets. The Lakers improved to +325 after acquiring Dennis Schroder while the Bucks moved to second at +500 after trading for Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
A total of 19 teams saw their odds drop while only five improved their chances. As for the Blazers, Covington’s arrival may not have an impact on the odds yet but when you talk about winning games, he’s a better defender than Hood so the Blazers made a good move in acquiring him. The Blazers currently have nine players under contract. By the time they complete their roster, they should be among the playoff favorites.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! ...
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