Covington, via Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Daily News:
“I found out on social media,” he said. “It was like five minutes before the team meeting, then Brett [Brown, the Sixers’ coach] called me and EB [general manager Elton Brand] called me, but I already knew. By then it was already out there. That’s how I found out.”
“It was really clear-cut and dry,” he said of the phone call. “As far as having that respect level, and for how much we’d been through, I would have thought it had to be completely different, but it wasn’t. Considering how much time relationship-wise and everything that went down. … It was weird.”
“I was told over the summer that there was no chance that I would be traded,” Covington said. “But things happen. I talked to Brett numerous times. At the same time, you saw everything that transpired with Kawhi and DeMar [DeRozan, the main principles in the trade that sent Leonard from San Antonio to Toronto], so anything can happen.”
Trading players can be difficult. There isn’t necessarily a right way to say goodbye.
It’s obviously unfortunate Covington found out on social media, but informing Covington wasn’t the only thing Brown and Brand were dealing with that day. It might not have been easy to contact Covington while also finalizing the trade and making the many arrangements involved.
Even once on a call with Covington, Brand and Brown have their own personal feelings, too. Fawning over Covington while sending him elsewhere could have easily been seen as fake.
I’m also curious the context of those summer conversations. Did Covington infer he wouldn’t be traded at all this season, or just during the offseason? What did Brown actually say?
To his credit, Covington doesn’t sound bitter. He’s just explaining his point of view, which he’s certainly entitled to.
But I’m also not sure there was anything Brown or Brand could have done to leave Covington satisfied with his exit from Philadelphia. That’s not to say Brown and Brand handled everything correctly. They might not have. But this is a naturally complex situation full of emotion and hard choices. Sometimes, there is no great way to handle it.