LOS ANGELES – Robert Covington's new contract was far from his mind during the 76ers' victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. But around 2 a.m. Eastern time Thursday, a little more than an hour after the game, he reflected on the deal that he was about to sign.
"I'm blessed to be here another four years," Covington said while getting dressed. "It's an opportunity that I have been looking forward to. I developed here for four years, and now, I'm going to be here for another four more."
Sources said Wednesday that Covington would sign his contract within 48 hours. One source said the contract would be signed Friday.
The Sixers renegotiated what was the final year of the deal he signed on Nov. 15, 2014, and extended it for four years. This season, he'll receive the remaining $15.1 million that the team had under the salary cap. That's in addition to the $1.6 million that the 26-year-old was in line to get. So, Covington will make $16.7 million this season.
The $15.1 million is the largest single-season figure negotiated since that became a contractual maneuver in the NBA, according to ESPN.com.
Covington will reportedly receive $10 million in 2018-19, $10.8 million in 2019-20, $11.6 million in 2020-21, and $12.4 million in 2021-22. In all, he'll make $61.5 million for five seasons.
Not bad for a 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 it with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, of the G-League. The Rockets waived him in October 2014, and the Sixers claimed him a few weeks later.
Now, as he's having his best season, averaging 16 points and shooting 50 percent on three-pointers, he's set to receive a financial reward for following his dream and staying with it.
"One thing about me is that I've never been a player that's given up," Covington said. "I've faced adversity countless, countless times throughout my life. One thing I've always preached was [to] keep pushing.
"Can't nobody stop me from being what I want to be. It's only me."