ORLANDO - Back in 2011, Orlando was home to the best high school basketball recruit. Now in 2022, he could be in a position to return home.
Austin Rivers, now a 10-year NBA veteran, is looking for his sixth basketball home since 2018 as a free agent and the Orlando Magic could be that team.
While Orlando is pretty established at the point guard position with a healthy Markelle Fultz, rising talent Cole Anthony and developmental project Devin Cannady, the team might find value in adding a veteran like Rivers.
The Magic's average age is 23, one of the youngest in the NBA, and the only players born before the team last made the Finals in 1995 are Terrence Ross and Gary Harris.
Rivers grew up in Central Florida, attending Winter Park High School from 2007-11. He moved to the Orlando area when his dad (and current Philadelphia 76ers coach) Doc Rivers was hired in 1999 by the Magic.
Rivers led Winter Park to consecutive 6A State Championships in 2010 and 2011 and was named Naismith Prep Player of the Year for his efforts during his senior season. His accolades and wild highlight reels helped him rise up the ranks to become the No. 1 recruit in the country. Rivers eventually committed to play for Duke, the same school No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero attended.
Banchero spoke about his Duke identity in a post-draft press conference and how he valued his teammate Wendell Carter Jr.'s Blue Devil brotherhood. Adding another Blue Devil to the mix could be beneficial to Banchero and the team overall.
If Rivers wants to sign with a contending team, the Magic might not be a fit, but he can make a massive impact if he chooses to come home.