During the 2020-2021 NBA offseason, Austin Rivers looked forward to hitting the free agency market after a stint with the Houston Rockets. Although he enjoyed his time in H-Town and wouldn't rule out a possible return, Rivers wanted to test the market.
When the free agency floodgates opened up, Rivers was linked to the Philadelphia 76ers. As a veteran wing who contributed to eight points-per-game off the bench and shot 35-percent from deep, Rivers' veteran presence off the bench could've helped the Sixers.
Ultimately, Rivers inked a multi-year deal with the New York Knicks. Although he got off to a slow start at the beginning of the year as he was battling a lower-body injury, Rivers eventually found himself on the floor for the Knicks.
In his first 14 games, Rivers averaged nine points-per-game while knocking down 40-percent of his threes. While he did a solid job, the Knicks still wanted an improvement. So, they made a trade with the Detroit Pistons to reunite with Derrick Rose.
Once Rose got comfortable in the Big Apple once again, Rivers found himself out of New York's rotation. In the last seven games, Rivers picked up less than five minutes of playing time. At this point, it's evident he's no longer in the rotation. As Rivers' minutes begin to dissolve, the trade rumors are starting to heat up. And the veteran guard is well aware of what's being said around the league.
“As long as I’m here, I’m here,” Rivers said, according to Marc Berman of the NY Post. “I can’t control if I’m traded today, tomorrow, or the next day. What I can control is how I am as a player and what I can bring to this team every day."
It sure sounds like Rivers is ready for a change already. Might the Sixers look into possibly acquiring him after showing interest before? With Daryl Morey as the team's President, anything is possible. But if Doc Rivers has any say in personnel decisions (he does, it's a collaborative effort), then chances are the Sixers won't go for Rivers.
In December, it was revealed that when the Sixers laid out the offseason plans for Doc Rivers in terms of signings, Austin Rivers was a target. When Doc found out, he encouraged the Sixers to look elsewhere.
“He was high on Philly’s list before I took the job,’’ Doc Rivers told The Post. “It was one of the guards they wanted. When I took the job, I said, ‘You don’t want that. You got too many other things we have to deal with.’ h/t Marc Berman
The father-son duo had a three-year stint with the Los Angeles Clippers before. Judging based on Rivers' decision to tell the Sixers to look elsewhere for veteran guards over the offseason, it seems Doc and Austin Rivers didn't have the greatest experience working together. If the 28-year-old guard is indeed traded away from the Knicks, he unlikely lands in Philly.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_