It appears Robert Covington's payday is about to finally arrive.
Covington and the Sixers are finalizing a four-year, $62 million contract extension, according to a report Wednesday by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Per the report, a signed agreement is expected by as soon as the end of this week.
Over the past four years, Covington has transformed from a G-League hopeful to an impact two-way player in the NBA. He solidified a place in the Sixers' starting lineup with his locked-in defense and three-point shooting abilities. Now he looks like a part of the team's long-term plans.
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"There's an inner confidence that he has that's born out of, ‘I belong. This is my organization and I'm going to do whatever I can to help move it forward,'" Brett Brown said Tuesday. "And that he has. He's just maturing before all of our eyes."
Covington established himself as the Sixers' defensive go-to and often is tasked with guarding the opponent's best player. He ranks fifth in the league in deflections (3.5) and fourth among all small forwards in steals (1.62) while averaging 5.7 rebounds.
Covington is also first among small forwards in real plus-minus (4.46) and sixth in the entire league, behind only James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic and Al Horford, according to ESPN.com.
It's the little things Brown notes on his "effort charts" that add up for Covington.
"He's great defensively," Joel Embiid said. "He's what we call a ‘Three-and-D' player. He does his job, especially defensively, one-on-one situations, help defense. He's a big part of this process and I'm glad to have him."
Offensively, Covington is having his best season. He is one game removed from a career-high 31 points against the Clippers. Covington is posting 16.8 points per game. He is tied for fifth in the NBA with Chandler Parsons for three-point shooting (50.0 percent) and seventh among small forwards in field goal shooting (49.7 percent).
The player once booed on his homecourt for missing treys has become a consistent long-range scorer. He's pushed forward with a mentality of "in one ear, out the other" where his confidence hasn't wavered in spite of his struggles.
"It's just about the evolution of my game," Covington said. "Getting the opportunity to play is what really helped me."
Just how far has Covington come in his career?
He went undrafted out of Tennessee State in 2013. That season, he signed with the Rockets and played 42 games for their G-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Covington was named 2013-14 G-League Rookie of the Year but was waived by the Rockets on Oct. 27, 2014, after appearing in just one preseason game.
The Sixers signed him to a discounted deal three weeks later. It was a get at a bargain contract for former general manager Sam Hinkie, who had been eyeing Covington since the draft, he penned in his resignation letter. Covington entered this season as the fifth-lowest paid player on the team ($1,577,230), earning more than only T.J. McConnell, Richaun Holmes, Furkan Korkmaz and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
Covington persevered through the ups and downs of the Sixers' losing seasons. He took advantage of his chance to simply play basketball in the NBA and is turning it into a lucrative contract and a place in the Sixers' future.
"It's a fantastic journey that I've experienced with him," Brown said. "I'm so proud of where he was compared to where he is."