The main purpose of the three-team trade that’s brewing between the Celtics, Grizzlies and Pelicans is to send Jeff Green to Memphis, without the Grizzlies having to cross over the luxury tax threshold to get him.
But the ancillary players in the deal, and where they may ultimately end up, is also something that’s becoming rather interesting.
Austin Rivers was a late inclusion in the deal from the New Orleans side, but it appears as though Boston, already loaded four-deep at the guard position, is looking to send him elsewhere — even before a trade has officially been finalized. And the Clippers, where Austin’s father Doc is the head coach and president of basketball operations, are reportedly interested.
From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Boston’s on phones now, trying to find a deal to move on Austin Rivers, league sources tell Yahoo.
Yahoo Sources: Within front office and coaching staff, officials pushing president/coach Doc Rivers to bring his son, Austin, to Clippers.
Austin’s 22, pending free agent. Clips searching for PG depth. Front office/ assistants telling Doc: Forget his last name. This makes sense.
Celtics willing to move A. Rivers for 2nd-round pick. For Clippers, it’s free look at 10th overall pick — who’d only be college senior now.
Celtics and Clippers discussing a deal for Austin Rivers, league sources tell Yahoo, but Boston doesn’t want salary back next season.
The Clippers played an afternoon contest at Staples Center on Saturday, and Doc told reporters he’d be open to bringing in his son.
From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:
Doc said after the game he would be open to coaching his son, Austin.
Doc on coaching Austin: “I would. I think a year ago I probably wouldn’t. I think I would for sure. I think this team could handle that.”
Doc on Austin: “He’s a downhill guard, which is something we need so I certainly would (be open to coaching him).”
Doc Rivers is well-respected in the Clippers locker room, and it’s difficult to see him handling this situation unprofessionally if it were to arise, to the point where it would cause some kind of distraction.
Since losing Darren Collison in free agency last summer, the Clippers are extremely thin at the point guard position. Jordan Farmar is logging the the bulk of the backup minutes there with an average of 14.7 per game, but he’s barely serviceable, and surpassing what he brings to the table wouldn’t be a very high bar for Austin Rivers to reach.
Austin is an unrestricted free agent this summer, which is part of the reason New Orleans is looking to move him after declining his contract option for next season. The Clippers are desperately in need of young and inexpensive talent that the team can develop, which is something we discussed on this week’s podcast. Austin might be good example of that; the fit makes sense, it’s just a matter of whether or not the father-son relationship can be set aside, and the Clippers can do something to bring him on without sending back salary Boston’s way.