NBA ruling against Nene deal haunts Rockets again with Covington pursuit

Robert Covington (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Robert Covington (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

With news of General Manager Daryl Morey seeking to acquire former Houston Rockets forward Robert Covington, it’s worth re-visiting how an earlier decision by the NBA may have significantly hindered the Rockets’ pursuit of the Rockets’ Nation favorite.

Houston Rockets‘ General Manager Daryl Morey has consistently proven that he’s willing to make the necessary moves to improve the Rockets’ roster. Whether it be adding Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Ty Lawson, Josh Smith or even Kenneth Faried, Morey is always looking to add pieces to help shape the Rockets into a championship contender.

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Rockets have interest in adding former Rockets’ forward Robert Covington. It’s easy to see why the Rockets would be interested in Covington, as he’s the ultimate 3-and-D player. Covington is currently averaging 12.5 points per game on 36.9 percent from deep, and he’s also a former First Team All-Defensive team selection.

But Morey will have his work cut out for him in the RoCo chase, as the Rockets will have a significantly challenging pursuit of Covington. The Rockets will almost certainly have to include P.J. Tucker in a trade unless they involve multiple other teams in a deal. If the Rockets choose to go the latter route, they would likely have to give up a significant amount of assets.

The asking price could be quite steep if the Houston Rockets choose to involve multiple teams because there will be no incentive for other teams to help the Rockets improve their roster. But all of this would have been much easier were it not for the NBA’s decision on the Nene contract. If you recall, Morey configured reserve center Nene’s contract to reflect an outgoing salary of 10 million, which would have allowed the Rockets to acquire a player with a salary of upto $12.6 million in return. This would have given the Rockets the ability to land Covington outright from a salary standpoint, among several other players.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, the NBA intervened and decided to reduce Nene’s outgoing contract to reflect a salary worth $2.6 million, which significantly affected the Rockets’ ability to move the Brazilian center.  Not only that, this has put an obstacle in the Rockets’ hopes of landing Covington in a trade without the inclusion of P.J. Tucker, which would arguably make the Rockets worse. It sounds like a broken record whenever Rockets’ Nation speaks about how the league has ruled unfavorably against the Rockets, but this unfortunately was another example as there was no precedent set when the league made this ruling.

Next. What Covington could bring to the Rockets

Morey has certainly earned the right to not be discounted but it’s safe to say he’ll have his work cut out in regards to the Rockets’ interest in Robert Covington. We’ll have to see what tricks he has up his sleeve, but the path would have been much easier if the original contract he agreed to with Nene had been upheld by the league.