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Sixers waive Johnson in order to sign Covington

HOUSTON – Chris Johnson was the 76er who received the pink slip to make room for Robert Covington.

The team signed Covington, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward on Saturday.  He joined the team that day and will be available to play for the Sixers (0-9) on Monday at  the San Antonio Spurs.

They waived Johnson to make room on the 15-man roster.

Johnson played in all nine games with two starts. He averaged 6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1 steals in 20 minutes of action.  The Sixers had claimed Johnson off waivers on Sept. 28, two days before the start  of training camp. He was initially waived by the Boston Celtics on Sept 25.

According to a league source, the Sixers have also been in contact with former Syracuse powe forward Arinze Onuaku. However, the source added that he didn't know how serious those discussions were.

The 6-9, 275-pounder played a total of five games last season with the New Orleans Pelicans and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Covington  was called up from the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League team.

Covington played seven games last season with the Houston Rockets. Houston also assigned him to the Rio Grand Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League on several occassions.

He rejoined the Rockets in the NBA Summer League in July. However, the Rockets waived him on Oct. 27. Four days later, the Drive selected him as the first overall pick of the D-League draft.

Covington was the D-league rookie of the year and league's all-star game MVP last season with the Vipers.

He averaged a league second-best 23.2 points while 44 percent from the field in 41 games with D-league team. Covington also averaged a team-best 9.2 rebounds  and 2.4 steals, which ranked second in the league.

He averaged a team-high 23.2 points, good for second-best in the NBA D-League, while shooting 44 percent from the field. He rounded out his stat line averaging a Vipers-best 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals, second-highest in the league.

The 23-year-old went undrafted out of Tennessee State in 2013 after being projected to get drafted in the second round.

At the time, scouts liked his 7-2 wingspan and his knack for being a stat-sheet stuffer in college. He was good rebounder and perimeter shooter in college and in the D-league. However, Covington does have some limitations. He needs to get bigger and stronger and doesn't really have a position.

The Illinois native averaged 2.3 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.3 steals and 4 minutes in seven appearances with the Rockets last season.

Follow Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers and on Instagram at PompeyOnSixers