Robert Covington learned he was traded from the 76ers to the Timberwolves the same way almost everyone else did.
“I found out on social media,” Covington told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday. “It was like five minutes before the team meeting, then (76ers coach) Brett (Brown) called me and EB (general manager Elton Brand) called me, but I already knew. By then it was already out there. That’s how I found out.”
Covington and forward Dario Saric were sent to Minnesota in mid-November as the centerpieces of the team’s return for star forward Jimmy Butler. Jerryd Bayless and a future second-round pick were also part of the package the Timberwolves received.
Covington spent four-plus seasons playing for Brown in Philadelphia and said he was surprised by the tone of their phone call following the deal.
“It was really clear-cut and dry,” Covington said. “As far as having that respect level, and for how much we’d been through, I would have thought it had to be completely different, but it wasn’t. Considering how much time relationship-wise and everything that went down. … It was weird.”
The 28-year-old forward, who is out an extended period of time with a bone bruise, is averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 34.4 minutes per game for the Timberwolves this season. He’s shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from 3-point range.
Covington said he was not expecting to play for a team other than Philadelphia in 2018-19.
“I was told over the summer that there was no chance that I would be traded,” Covington said. “At the same time … anything can happen.”
Minnesota fired coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau on Sunday. Ryan Saunders will serve as the team’s interim coach.
The Timberwolves face the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. They’ll enter that matchup with a 19-21 record.