The Portland Trail Blazers have an interesting trade and free agency period ahead in the summer of 2021. They’ll need to make several decisions regarding their current roster, including how much they value nearly every member thereof.
In preparation for the big summer, Dave Deckard and Dia Miller of the Dave and Dia Podcast are asking each other — and you — whether to “Keep or Yeet” each member of the team.
The concept is pretty much like it sounds. Take one Blazers player. Do you keep him around for next season or show him the door?
We hasten to point out that voting “Yeet” (colloquially: to toss away with authority, somewhat gleefully) does not mean that Dave and Dia dislike the player, think the player has no talent, or regret the player being a Blazer. There can be a thousand reasons to yeet your resident shooting guard, only some of which have to do with him.
Similarly, voting “Keep” does not indicate that Dave and Dia think the player is perfect, just that the reasons for keeping him outweigh the reasons for letting him go.
Robert Covington: Keep or Yeet?
Dia: This may be the easiest round of this game that we play. Robert Covington is without a doubt a keep for me. Probably my second most confident keep — number one being Damian Lillard. Robert Covington has been, in my opinion, the Trail Blazers best recent pick up. His skillset and personality seems to fit in like the missing puzzle piece.
Dave: It may be, because we agree! He’s under contract for $13 million next season without a long-term obligation. He’s a natural help defender who also did pretty well as a point-of-attack defender playing against all kinds of frontcourt opponents last season. And he got the “Blazer Bump” as a three-point shooter. He spent much of the year hovering around 40% from the arc before regressing to a still-very-decent 38% at season’s end. He began to explore taking them from multiple angles. He wasn’t the definitive answer to all Portland’s problems, but he sure didn’t hurt. He was one of the few, unadulterated bright spots last season.
Are there any conditions under which you’d move him?
Dia: No. Truthfully I can’t think of a reason to. I suppose there is always the possibility that a trade will surface involving him that would be silly not to take (although, rumor has it that’s happened with other players and the Trail Blazers weren’t willing to do it). But short of some miraculous trade deal, no, I wouldn’t trade him. He’s really quickly become one of my favorite Trail Blazers of all time.
Dave: My caveat would be similar. If he’s the lever to get a premier player in a CJ McCollum trade (and yes, I’d include Ben Simmons in that category), the Blazers have to do that. Covington’s contract isn’t that long. He can’t be the stopper for a future move. Just as importantly, Covington is a complementary piece. He’s not going to be a huge difference-maker without a solid lineup around him. He’d be great in a Lillard-Powell-Trade Target-Covington-Nurkic fivesome. Start breaking that up, and the Blazers might need more at power forward than Covington can provide.
One last note: Portland did trade their 2021 first-round pick to obtain Covington. A pick in the 20s is of modest value, but it is a future-looking asset. If they do trade him, let’s hope they get something that matters in that package. This may also influence how long they can keep him around if they don’t plan to re-sign him. Just letting him walk after his contract expires next season would be less than optimal.
What about all of you? Does RoCo go in the keep or yeet category for you, and why? Let us know in the comments below!