What Robert Covington's new contract could look like

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What Robert Covington's new contract could look like

When the clock strikes midnight, Robert Covington will be eligible to sign a contract extension and finally begin earning what he's worth.

The timing couldn't be better. Covington, who the Sixers certainly already valued highly, scored a career-high 31 points Tuesday night in Los Angeles, drilling a crucial three with 33 seconds left then making four free throws to close out the win over the Clippers.

It was yet another stat-stuffing performance for Covington — 31 points, 9 of 12 from the field, 5 of 8 from three, 8 of 8 from the line, six rebounds, four assists, four steals. And all of this from a guy who makes his biggest impact on the defensive end.

He just keeps getting better and better, growing into one of the best possible versions of a 3-and-D player.

Covington is going to make some serious coin. Just how much?

The idea has been floated around that the Sixers could use some of this season's cap space (approximately $15 million) to give Covington a significant immediate raise as part of his new contract. It would help the Sixers down the road to pay Covington a lot now because it could allow them to pay him slightly less when they're closer to the salary cap.

If the Sixers do give Covington that 2017-18 raise as part of his reworked contract, by rule, he cannot see more than a 40 percent decrease in next year's salary. So, as pointed out by the Sporting News, if the Sixers use all of their remaining cap space this season to give Covington his immediate raise, they would have to pay him a minimum of $10 million next season. Which they would anyway.

Here are some current contracts for forwards somewhat comparable to RoCo:

Khris Middleton: 5 years, $70 million

Kent Bazemore: 4 years, $70 million

Serge Ibaka: 3 years, $65 million

Danilo Gallinari: 3 years, $65 million

Tobias Harris: 4 years, $64 million

Covington is by far the best defender of this group. From a skill set perspective, he's most similar to Bazemore, an above-average defender who can rebound and hit threes. 

These contracts are provided simply for context. A lot of it depends on the team, the fit and the cap space. Covington is a better all-around player than Gallinari (and significantly more durable) but that doesn't mean he's going to exceed the $22 million average annual salary.

This season, Covington is making just under $1.6 million. If the Sixers raise that to, say, $15 million, then sign him to a contract worth four years and between $52-56 million, the end result would be approximately five years, $70 million. That seems about right for Covington. Maybe slightly low.

The possibility exists that Covington chooses not to sign an extension and instead tests the unrestricted free-agent waters after the season. At the end of the day, every player does what's best for himself. But it would be pretty tough for Covington to turn down tens of millions of dollars given how underpaid he's been to this point. And could you really see him leaving Philly after years of building this thing up over a few million dollars through the life of a four-year deal?

Another thing to keep in mind is that if Covington were to wait it out, there just aren't many teams positioned to pay him top dollar or exceed what the Sixers can offer. As it stands right now, only the Lakers will have more cap space next summer than the Sixers, but L.A. obviously has its sights set on superstars like LeBron James and Paul George. The Sixers are just behind the Lakers, and then the only teams currently within even $20 million of the Sixers' 2018 cap space are the Bulls, Mavericks and Hawks.

Covington could certainly hold out in hopes of landing a bigger deal from one of those three teams, but the risk would seem to outweigh the reward, especially if winning is a priority for him after years spent on cellar-dwelling Sixers teams.

This is a deal the Sixers will want to complete sooner rather than later and it would be no surprise if it's announced later this week. 

The week the Sixers traded Nerlens Noel to Dallas last season, I wrote about how that deal essentially meant the Sixers were choosing Covington over Noel. That decision now couldn't possibly look better.

Sixers sign Jonah Bolden to 4-year contract, trade Richaun Holmes to Suns

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Sixers sign Jonah Bolden to 4-year contract, trade Richaun Holmes to Suns

The Sixers are not quite done making moves this offseason.

The team on Friday sent big man Richaun Holmes to the Suns for cash considerations and signed 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden to a four-year deal, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the trade and Bolden's signing.

With these moves, the Sixers’ roster remains at 15 players, but that could change if the team finds a way to rid themselves of Jerryd Bayless’ contract — say, in a trade with Cleveland (see story).

The writing has been on the wall for Holmes. Now entering his fourth year, the 2015 second-round pick struggled to find a role in Brett Brown’s rotation last season with a healthy Joel Embiid and veteran Amir Johnson in the fold. While he offered energy, athleticism and weakside rim protection off the bench, Holmes lacked discipline defensively, something Brown hasn’t tolerated during his tenure.

Bolden will essentially take Holmes’ spot on the roster as a developmental big. With quicker feet defensively, Bolden has more versatility to guard fours. While his summer league performance was underwhelming offensively, Bolden did impress defensively, especially against No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton. It’s important to note that the third and fourth years of Bolden’s deal are not guaranteed, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

Drafted by the Sixers out of Bowling Green State, Holmes flashed at times but was only able to get into 48 games this season, averaging 15.5 minutes a contest. He averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 156 career games with the Sixers.

A native Australian, Bolden attended UCLA for one year before heading overseas to play for FMP Beograd of the Adriatic League. As a draft and stash this past season, Bolden played for Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and tested his skills in the EuroLeague. He averaged 7.2 points and six rebounds in 20.8 minutes a game. He’s shown flashes of a jump shot but shot just 31 percent from three this season abroad and 24 percent in summer league action.

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Sixers' reported interest in Kyle Korver trade may be way out of Jerryd Bayless' contract

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Sixers' reported interest in Kyle Korver trade may be way out of Jerryd Bayless' contract

The Sixers have been searching for a way to end their partnership with Jerryd Bayless for some time now. And while a resolution may finally be coming into shape, it’s far from a sure thing.

The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey first reported Thursday that the Sixers have had discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers about a trade involving Bayless and Kyle Korver.

However, The New York Times’ Marc Stein added Friday that while a potential deal involving the two sides is “possible” it’s also “far from certain.” 

Bayless has one year remaining on his contract at $8.57 million. 

Korver has two years left on his deal for $7.56 million in 2018-19 and $7.5 million the following season. Of that 2019-20 salary, only $3.44 million is guaranteed if Korver remains on the team after July 7, 2019. The money becomes fully guaranteed after that point. 

Any deal for the Cavaliers to take on Bayless would likely also involve a draft pick going back to Cleveland. The Sixers currently have control of most of their own assets, including six total second-round selections in the next two drafts.

Korver, who spent the first four-plus years of his career with the Sixers, is still getting it done in the NBA at 37 years old. The veteran sharpshooter played in 73 games regular-season games last season for the Cavs and averaged 9.2 points a night on 43.6 percent three-point shooting (sixth-best in the NBA).

Meanwhile, Bayless fell out of the rotation in Year 2 of his three-year, $27 million contract with the Sixers. The 29-year-old guard was a DNP-CD for 39 of the Sixers’ final 40 games, including playoffs, with the lone appearance being a showing for 1:44 in the team’s Game 1 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In all, Bayless played in just 39 contests and averaged 7.9 points (41.6 percent shooting from the field and 37.0 percent shooting from three-point range).

“It wasn’t easy,” Bayless said during exit interviews of his diminished role as the season went on. “This whole year from an individual standpoint wasn’t the easiest. But, at the same time, when you’re around a group of guys that we had and the success that we had, it made it easier. 

“I’m really grateful that I was able to be a part of this organization this year. We’ll see what happens moving forward.”

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