Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers would like to re-sign son Austin Rivers this summer, as Doc made clear during his end-of-season press conference and as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays. Doc Rivers said he regretted putting up resistance to GM Dave Wohl‘s urging that he trade for Austin Rivers this past summer before finally allowing Wohl to win him over in January, when the Clips acquired him from the Celtics in a three-team trade with the Suns.
“People who want to criticize him don’t [realize he’s 22],” Doc Rivers said of his son. “That’s the way I always look at them. He’s young and he clearly helped us, I think we all have to agree with that. And I think he loved it here. I even think he liked the coach at times. You know, it’ll be interesting. I really want him back and I think it would be great to have him back and I think he’s a great fit for this team. But business is business and it’ll be an interesting thing this summer.”
Doc Rivers quipped that his son will be the easiest of the team’s free agents to re-sign since it would simply require putting in a call to Austin Rivers’ mom, but the Clips are financially hamstrung in part by a decision they didn’t make. Before the season, the Pelicans declined the team option on his rookie scale contract, worth $3,110,796, for 2015/16. New Orleans traded Austin Rivers to the Celtics, who flipped him to the Clippers, but the Clips are nonetheless barred from re-signing him to a contract with a starting salary of any more than that option amount.
Austin Rivers, who reportedly split with agent David Falk earlier this season, had his moments in the playoffs, but it’s nonetheless unclear if the former No. 10 overall pick would warrant a salary greater than what the Clippers could pay him. Still, Doc Rivers seemed to indicate Sunday in comments to Sam Amick of USA Today that his son is in the team’s long-term plans, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe observes (Twitter link).
“You’ve got to give [Chris Paul] just some more support, you know?” Doc Rivers said to Amick. “I think bringing Austin here helped us. We’ve got a 22-year-old [Austin], and now to me we’ve got to get another guard who’s in the middle age group. So now you’re growing with Austin and C.J. [Wilcox], and we need another defensive guy, too.”