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Could Austin Rivers Sign With the Boston Celtics?

Mar 22, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers (25) participates in shoot around before a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Rivers recently said on The Bill Simmons Podcast that he spoke with Boston Celtics general manager Brad Stevens about a potential contract to join the team.

Could Austin Rivers Sign With the Boston Celtics?

Rivers most recently played for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2022-23 season. With Minnesota, he played in 52 games and started 10 of them. Rivers averaged 4.9 PPG, 1.6 RPG, and 1.4 APG.

Rivers also played in four postseason games last season, coming off the bench in each one. He had a minimal role, however.

As for his career, Rivers was drafted by the then New Orleans Hornets with the No. 10 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Duke. Rivers has also played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, and Denver Nuggets.

Over the course of his career, Rivers averaged 8.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 2.1 APG. Rivers is also a capable shooter, shooting 41.9 FG% and 34.9 3P%.

The Celtics and Rivers have ties with each other as Rivers is the son of former long-time head coach Doc Rivers.

Interestingly, the Celtics traded for Rivers in 2015 as part of the three-team trade that sent Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Celtics eventually dealt Rivers a few days later before he ever suited up.

As it stands, the Celtics’ starting backcourt is expected to be Derrick White and Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics have Malcolm Brogdon, Payton Pritchard, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Dalano Banton for depth. The team also has JD Davison and Jay Scrubb on two-way contracts.

Does Rivers make sense for the team with the Celtics having one roster spot remaining? And even if the team signs him, does he have a role with the Celtics?

The Verdict

In a nutshell, probably not.

The idea of Rivers coming to Boston, where his dad helped bring them a championship in 2008, is fun. However, the Celtics don’t need a guard who likely won’t crack the rotation at any point.

This past offseason, the Celtics traded fan-favorite Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies to clear up a logjam in the backcourt. Using up that last spot on Rivers may not make sense with the team’s current roster. Instead, the team may look for more depth in the frontcourt.

That said, Rivers has been in the league for 11 seasons and has playoff experience. He isn’t likely to have a significant role for any team at this stage in his career.

Rivers is a good perimeter shooter who can be an offensive spark plug when needed. However, that’s all he would likely be for the Celtics. And at that point, it makes more sense to ride it out with Pritchard and see what he can do in an expanded role.

It ultimately comes down to what Stevens envisions with that final roster spot.

If Stevens wants a veteran to ride the bench and give his players staggered appearances, Rivers might be the guy.

On the flip side, if Stevens wants someone who can contribute more to the team right away and play some playoff minutes, he should look elsewhere.


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