The leash was released Tuesday morning as the Sixers finally traded James Harden to the Clippers. They also sent over PJ Tucker and Filip Petrušev in exchange for Marcus Morris Sr., Robert Covington, Nic Batum, Kenyon Martin Jr., and four draft picks. Let’s get to know the new faces.
The return of an old friend.
Robert Covington’s NBA career took off when he joined the Sixers in 2014. He became a fan favorite and was a mainstay during the ‘process’ years. Covington was a part of the trade package for Jimmy Butler in 2018 and he has struggled to find his place on teams ever since. After coming back, Joel Embiid, whom Covington has a close relationship with, immediately trash-talked him. He’s now looking to break first all-time on the Sixers’ 3-pointers list as he’s 178 behind legend Allen Iverson. RoCo is relieved to be home and looking to prove he’s still a great rotation piece in the NBA.
A ‘surreal’ Philly homecoming.
Marcus Morris Sr. grew up in Philadelphia and was a Sixers fan his whole childhood. You could only imagine how ecstatic he was to finally be able to play for his hometown. Morris feels his homecoming will help him rekindle the more productive stages of his career and bring a new atmosphere for him. Though he’s not sure what it will be, he’s ready to embrace whatever role the Sixers ask of him. Being a native of the city, Morris knows what’s expected of him when he puts on a Sixers uniform. His “dawg” mentality fits the vibes of Philadelphia perfectly which only makes you think Morris will become a fan favorite in no time.
A veteran role player and a young wing.
The other two pieces in return for Harden, Nic Batum and KJ Martin, could prove to be great role players for the Sixers. Batum has cemented himself as one of the best role players in the league that will immediately help this team contend. Unknown to many, he’s a great defender and a pure passer. Batum is not the most efficient shooter but unlike Tucker, he doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. He’s a seasoned veteran who could quickly be a Philly favorite and is perfect for helping Embiid and co. have playoff success.
KJ Martin has experienced moderate success in the NBA since he was drafted in 2020. The young wing feels he can fit in well with the team and has a lot of untapped athletic potential. Martin is familiar with Nick Nurse’s coaching style and has known coach Rico Hines since he was 15. Athletic, young wings are in demand and we’ll see if Martin can become part of the Sixers’ future.
No one knows yet how these four will fit into the Sixers rotation or how long some of them will be Sixers. However, having new faces–who aren’t problematic–is refreshing for Sixers fans. It’s exciting to see what they can bring to a team that has been running smoothly under Nick Nurse in just four games.
Now that the Harden drama is gone, the Sixers can focus solely on basketball and welcome the new pieces into the rotation.