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Robert Covington thanks Sixers, Philly

The forward expressed his gratitude in an Instagram post.

Robert Covington.
Robert Covington.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

MIAMI – Robert Covington sent his gratitude to the 76ers and Philadelphia on Monday morning on Instagram for allowing him to grow as a player there over the past four years.

That came two days after the team sent him, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton. The trade will become official Monday.

"Thru the ups and downs, I learned a lot here and y'all always had our back," Covington posted. "It's been a incredible journey and I definitely wouldn't change it for the world. I built friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime. Now a new journey awaits and I'm thankful for this opportunity. Until next time Philly!!!"

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound small forward was an NBA all-defensive first-teamer last season. He became the first Sixer to be named to the all-defensive first team since Dikembe Mutombo in 2000-01. He led the league in deflections (312) and had a league-best defensive rating (99) for forwards who played at least 30 minutes per game. Covington was also ninth in the league in steals per game (1.7), with the sixth-most steals (137).

Not bad for the former power forward who went undrafted out of Tennessee State in 2013. He signed with the Houston Rockets for the 2013-14 season, but spent most of that campaign with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA G-League. The Rockets waived him in October 2014, and the Sixers claimed him a few weeks later.