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Report: 76ers, Robert Covington finalizing $62 million renegotiation-and-extension

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Robert Covington #33 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center on October 20, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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The 76ers found a steal in Robert Covington when they signed him to a four-year, team-friendly contract three years ago. Covington has blossomed into one of the NBA’s better 3-and-D forwards, and at 26, he’s in his prime.

Philadelphia won’t let him hit free agency.

Covington became eligible for a renegotiation-and-extension today, and to the surprise of nobody considering how much cap space the 76ers saved for just this occasion, the deal will soon become official.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington is finalizing the framework of a four-year, $62 million contract extension, league sources told ESPN.

Covington has a $1,577,230 salary this season. With $15,120,873 in cap space, the 76ers can bump his salary up to $16,698,103 for this season. His salary in the first year of his extension, which would begin in 2018-19, must land between 60% and 120% of his salary last season. His salary in each subsequent season in the extension can rise or fall by 8% of his 2018-19 salary.

Presumably, the 76ers will use all their remaining cap space to renegotiate Covington’s salary this season. What better use do they have for it? In exchange, Covington will accept less than his perceived market value over the four years of the extension – which means taking a big drop next season.

Here’s a guess at the structure of Covington’s contract:

2017-18: $1,577,230 $16,698,103

2018-19: $10,018,862

2019-20: $10,820,371

2020-21: $11,621,880

2021-22: $12,423,389

That’s the maximum renegotiation this season, the maximum drop next season and the maximum increase in each subsequent season. It’s a a total of $61,582,604, right in line with Wojnarowski’s reporting. I wouldn’t count the money Covington was already due this season, but whoever leaked this information might. Perhaps, the drop next season won’t be quite the maximum 40%, though.

No matter the exact terms, this is a savvy use of cap space by the 76ers, who will have more financial flexibility during the primes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as a result of paying Covington more now.