Grade the mock trade: How Rockets can re-acquire fan favorite for Kevin Porter Jr.

Denver Nuggets v Houston Rockets
Denver Nuggets v Houston Rockets / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
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Why Clippers make the trade

Robert Covington is stashed on the Clippers’ bench and wasn’t featured in coach Ty Lue’s rotations due to a logjam at forward. In fact, Covington’s minutes dropped in 2022-23, despite him displaying the ability to be a legitimate contributor for the Clips in 2021-22, as he posted averages of 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 50 percent from the field, and 45 percent from long-range.

That likely won’t be changing in 2023-24. One way or another, the Clips are getting rid of him.

And if it nets them Bojan Bogdanovich, one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, they’d surely be happy. Not to mention the two second-round draft picks, which would be appealing for a team that just dealt two second-rounders to the Rockets in exchange for KJ Martin.

In other words, the Clippers would recoup their draft capital while adding yet another scoring punch in Bogdanovich.

This would be well worth it for them to take on the optics and bad PR of Kevin Porter Jr.

Why Rockets benefit from the proposed trade

Giving up a first-round pick seems steep and it’s surely not what the Rockets would want to do. But let’s face it: ridding themselves of KPJ is worth whatever price is necessary.

Also, the pick isn’t until 2028. By that point, the Rockets will be formidable contenders. Or at least they have to assume so, if they believe in their young core.

In other words, the pick won’t be a good one in five years. It wasn’t that long ago when the franchise was heavily pursuing Robert Covington and they had a successful experience with him in the fold.

They just needed to rebuild so it didn’t make sense to keep him around. RoCo is in the final year of his contract and is still a formidable defender, due to his length and athleticism. Offensively, Covington is still a floor-spacer, as he averaged 39.7 percent from behind the arc last season and made a scorching 45 percent from three for the Clips in 2021-22.

His 3-point shooting ability is real. As for James Preston, his $1.8 million salary in 2023-24 is non-guaranteed. The Rockets could simply waive him before October 1st and avoid his contract hitting their books.