NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: Avery Johnson to Coach Again?

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Check out the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.

Avery Johnson Open to Coaching Again

Johnson: “At the moment, I love what I’m doing coaching millions of people with the opportunity to work with ESPN on all of our shows. So it’s great. I had a chance to cover the University of Kentucky’s open practice, I’m calling a high school game on Dec. 8, the high school my son attended. He’s now at Texas A&M. I love the opportunity to coach the audience and entertain. Obviously, if a coaching opportunity presents itself then I’ll address that at that time. But I love what I’m doing right now, and that’s what I see myself doing as time wears on.”

via Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 49-year-old return to the sideline at some point in the near future. He’s happy working for ESPN at the moment, but most head coaches get that itch to lead again and go back to their original career at some point. It sounds like he’ll take a look at a coaching job if it presents itself.

Johnson spent seven years as an NBA head coach, with stints leading the Mavericks and Nets. However, he hasn’t coached since being fired in December of 2012 by the Nets after the team got off to a 14-14 start.

Johnson has proven that he’s a solid coach, and many people felt like his firing in 2012 was an overreaction by the Nets, especially considering he had just been named the NBA’s Coach of the Month for October before being let go. The situation wasn’t great and the struggles clearly weren’t only on Johnson.

He has a winning record as a head coach (254-186) and has an NBA Finals appearance on his resume after he guided Dallas there in the 2005-06 season. His worst year came with the Nets in 2010-11, when the team won just 24 games.

Grizzlies Work Out Kenyon Martin

The Grizzlies conducted a workout with veteran free-agent forward Kenyon Martin on Wednesday, but no deal is imminent. The Griz are gathering information on free agents, which is part of their customary routine when there is an open roster spot.

There is no indication that the Griz will fill the 15th slot any time soon.

via Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal

Martin is looking to get back on an NBA roster after going unsigned during the offseason, and the Grizzlies are doing their due diligence since they have an open roster spot.

The Houston Rockets also expressed interest in Martin recently, meeting with the veteran big man in October.

Martin is now 36 years old and first needs to prove that he’s completely healthy before being signed. As Tillery states, he played in just 32 games last season with the New York Knicks and had surgery on his ankle over the offseason.

This would be Martin’s 15th season in the NBA, after stints with the Nets, Nuggets, Clippers and Knicks. He has averaged 12.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals over the course of his career.

For an in-depth list of the remaining free agents, click here.

76ers Sign Covington

The Philadelphia 76ers are putting final touches on a long-term pact with 23-year-old forward Robert Covington, sources told Basketball Insiders.

According to sources, Covington, the No. 1 overall pick of the Grand Rapids Drive in the recent D-League Draft, will sign a four-year, $4.2 million total deal with the 76ers. He will make $1 million this season. Philly locking up Covington was initially reported via Marc Stein of ESPN.

Prior to being waived by the Houston Rockets a few weeks ago, Basketball Insiders has learned that Covington turned down a lucrative two-month proposal from Euroleague power-club CSKA Moscow.

via David Pick of Basketball Insiders

It was only a matter of time before Covington reached an agreement with an NBA team, as he has been playing excellent basketball in the NBA D-League since last season.

His deal with the 76ers will likely be similar to the ones that Brandon Davies, Jakaar Sampson and Hollis Thompson signed, with only partial guarantees and a number of option years. This allows the Sixers to keep Covington if he shows he can be a significant contributor, or cut ties with him if he’s not productive.

Still, this is a good situation for Covington since he should get a chance to play and show what he can do at the NBA level.

Covington, who was undrafted out of Tennessee State in 2013, spent last season with the Houston Rockets but was in the D-League for most of the year before being waived this October. He earned last season’s NBA D-League Rookie of the Year award and participated in the NBDL All-Star Game, averaging 23.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.7 assists through 42 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.